Eggplant must surely be the most mysterious of the vegetables. As far as I know, there are two different kinds: the "traditional" Italian, and the less traditional but better-with-a-samurai-sword Japanese variety. Although actually, I just checked on Wikipedia, and I'm completely wrong. Still, I would maintain that regardless of what kinds of varieties exist or do not exist, it is still the most mysterious of vegetables.
Some excellent ways to enjoy eggplant:
- Szechuan-style eggplant is garlicy, savory, tingly, hot and absolutely amazing. Go to Szechuan Gourmet on 39th Street in Manhattan and be happy to be alive.
- "Middle Eastern" eggplant dips, such as baba ghanoush. Beware, however, that some of these use mayonnaise to a sickening degree. Head to Kefi on Columbus in the 80s for excellent eggplant spread, or try the eggplant napoleon at Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
- Eggplant Parmesan. I've currently been thinking about this dish very often. In fact, last night I didn't sleep a wink because I was considering it so intensely.
Right now all I can think about is making an excellent eggplant parmesan. I made it last week and it was very good, but I am going to keep experimenting. One of the great eggplant parmesan debates is whether to apply breading or not. For the dish I made last week, I roasted the eggplant and then layered it in a dish with sauce and provolone cheese and then baked.
I'll report soon on my next iteration.