Tracy and I merged forces again in the Early Morning Farm kitchen to bring you a short video on the many, mouth-watering uses of eggplant – which is pouring in from the fields right now! There is a dish for every eggplant-lover or waiting-to-be-converted-eggplant-lover out there … dig in!

Over the past week I posted two new recipes featuring one of my all-time favorite summer vegetables: the eggplant. (Eggplant & Parsley Salad and How to Make Perfect Baba Ghanoush). Even my husband Bobby, who is mildly allergic to eggplant, loves it so much that he’ll tolerate an itchy mouth for a taste of this hearty, versatile vegetable.

My experience growing up with eggplant was largely Italian. One of my mamma’s earliest food memories is of her grandfather making Melanzane alla Veneziana. We’ve both researched the dish high and low, and can’t find a matching description anywhere. But Mamma remembers him painstakingly peeling the skin off the eggplant (the common globe variety) and then cooking down the skin with olive oil and garlic until it formed a rich paste to be lathered on bread. My taste buds are nearly exploding from the description alone.

Growing up, Mamma often made the classic Eggplant Parmigiana (which happens to be very kid-friendly!), grilled eggplant, eggplant salads and eggplant sautés. All of these versions usually had at least two Italian staples: olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomato and parmesan.

But as I began to travel to new countries, I discovered eggplant in other fascinating and equally divine ways. In Thailand, eggplant is often found in a sweet and sour dish, most amazingly paired with pineapple. My Chinese aunt, Luwei, would make it fried with soy sauce, garlic and chives, and in Turkey I discovered it in the form of a luxurious dip called Baba Ghanoush. Back in my own kitchen, I experimented with an Eggplant and Preserved Lemon Ratatouille, fusing my Italian and adventurous roots (recipe to be published … one day…!).

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that can be cooked in myriad ways, and the varieties you find at the grocery store or your farmers market – squat, striped, long, thin, fat – are interchangeable.

In this video you will find a step-by-step tutorial on making Baba Ghanoush with grilled eggplant, along with other tips for making the most of this fleeting summer vegetable – get it in while you can!

Featured image from Early Morning Farm

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