How do we love eggplant? Let us count the ways. The purple-hued vegetable is not only one of the most unique produce ingredients in both taste and texture; it's also one of the most versatile in terms of technique.
You can find varieties of eggplant in recipes all over the world, from Middle Eastern cuisine to Chinese cuisine. In the Middle East, find the stuff charred over open flame or mashed into a decadently creamy spread called baba ghannouj. Ideal for pita, it's the perfect way to break your hummus routine. Meanwhile in China, find eggplant steamed and then stir-fried in a wok with garlic and spices. It pairs excellently with rice for a complete meal.
From an Azeri eggplant-walnut frittata a Turkish stuffed number, here are our absolute favorite ways to use eggplant.
This hearty Azeri egg dish—which can be served in small pieces as an appetizer or side, or cut into larger wedges as a main—is loaded with ground walnuts, onions, and eggplant, giving it a nutty, meaty consistency and color. Get the recipe for Eggplant and Walnut Frittata (Badimjan Kükü) »
Charring young eggplant over an open flame lends a smoky flavor to this dish from the Galilee. Get the recipe for Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce & Tahini »
Tender fried eggplant sandwiches pesto-like walnut sauce in this appetizer recipe. Get the recipe for Fried Eggplant with Walnut Sauce (Badridzhani Nigvsit) »
Steaming eggplant, as opposed to deep-frying it, lightens this fragrant stir-fry adapted from a recipe in Grace Young and Alan Richardson's The Breath of a Wok (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Get the recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi) »
Charred until nearly burnt, then mashed with earthy paprika and sour sherry vinegar, we love this dish as a condiment on roast lamb or served as a dip with pita chips. Get the recipe for Twice-Cooked Eggplant with Sherry Vinegar and Paprika »
Creamy, mild eggplant pairs with briny capers, floral basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction for a knockout appetizer or side dish. Get the recipe for Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers »
This recipe originated in the Ottoman palaces. Use small eggplants for a better eggplant-to-stuffing ratio, since the key is to bake as much vegetable and tomato flavor into the eggplant as possible. Feel free to play around with the filling: swap in vegetables like sweet corn or zucchini for a seasonal twist. Get the recipe for Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) »
For this comforting roasted eggplant salad, Sergey and Ivan glaze the eggplant with kvass, a traditional Slavic drink made from fermented rye bread. Get the recipe for Warm Eggplant Salad With Hemp Seed Sauce »
The classic Middle Eastern eggplant spread, redolent with garlic and smoky charred eggplant, is made even creamier with the addition of mayonnaise. Get the recipe for Mashed Eggplant Spread (Baba Ghannouj) »
These one-bite hors d'oeuvres are inspired by the ingredients of a classic Middle Eastern baba ganoush; they can be served either cool or hot out of the oven. Get the recipe for Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese Tahini and Pine Nuts »
A good moussaka—a baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce—is one of the most fabulous things you can eat. Get the recipe for Moussaka »