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Too Many Cooks: The Great Eggplant Debate

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You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

Eggplant on Food52


This week, we made a polarizing and sort-of-scary suggestion: we told you to microwave your eggplant. We're not sorry, because it's delicious, but it definitely got people talking. Because eggplant is so divisive, and because a it's a much-maligned vegetable, and because eggplant season is slipping away too quickly, this week we want to know:

What's your favorite eggplant cooking strategy? 

We want to hear your favorite dishes, too -- tell us in the comments!

Baba Ganoush on Food52

Marian: David Lebovitz's Baba Ganoush is my new official favorite preparation -- mostly because I get to burn things intentionally on the stovetop.

Hannah: +100 on Baba Ganoush!

LaurenRoasted Eggplant with Basil thanks to Martha Stewart. 5 simple ingredients and oh-so-delicious. 

Brette: Lauren converted me -- that's my new favorite way too! I also like it a la Ottolenghi when I'm feeling fancy. Also eggplant parmesan.

Kenzi: I'm very, very happy to say that I'm an official eggplant convert! David Lebovitz's baba ganoush that Marian made helped me get there. I like to roast the hell out of it, or char it. I also really want to try cooking it in coals, a la Canal House. And I second Brette -- the eggplant a la Ottolenghi is killer.

Christina: Charred on the grill with lots of olive oil and La Boite's Breeze spice blend sprinkled liberally.

Michael: My favorite ways to cook an eggplant are: (1) whole, over an open flame, until the skin is fully charred and the inside is a creamy, smoky pudding, and (2) sliced or chopped and shallow fried, as in this recipe. Cubed and long-simmered with lamb, chickpeas, and spices ain't bad either.

Amelia: This. I've been doing a lot of stress-cooking lately (apartment hunting is exhausting!) and this is pretty much the best comfort food.

Gayle: 1. Burn until it collapses, then mix with olive oil and chopped tomatoes. 2. Nasu dengaku.

Eggplant Parmesan from Food52

Merrill: I'm not a huge eggplant fan (sshhh, don't tell!), but I agree that the eggplant parmesan is truly wonderful.

Gabriella: I second Merrill...eggplant definitely isn't my favorite vegetable. (I've always enjoyed this sentiment from Love in the Time of Cholera: “Very well, I will marry you if you promise not to make me eat eggplant.”) That said, anything tastes good when you pickle it.

Amanda: I like how Patricia Wells steams it.

How to Prep Eggplant on Food52


More: Master eggplant prep with our step-by-step guide.

Bea: I grew up on eating Japanese eggplant and love it! One of my favorite eggplant recipes is hot and spicy mapo eggplant. It's a variation of the famous mapo tofu which uses Sichuan peppercorns and chilis for a numbing heat. It's pretty simple to prepare: sauté the eggplant in oil, then add a mixture of hot soy sauce, chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorn, and black bean sauce to the pan and sauté until it thickens. This dish goes so well with a bowl of jasmine rice to cut the heat and soak up the delicious sauce. 

Jen: In a similar vein, my sister makes amazing (if tragically named) Sichuan Fish-Fragrant Eggplant and serves it over steamed white rice with a fried egg. It's spicy and complex and comforting and what I want for dinner tonight.

Maddy: Baba ganoush is hard to beat, but I also can't resist this recipe from ICE for eggplant fritters with feta that get dunked in yogurt sauce.

Genius Microwaved Eggplant on Food52


Tell us: How do you like your eggplant?

Baba Ganoush photo by Jodi Moreno. Eggplant Parmesan photo by Karen Mordechai. All other photos by James Ransom.

Tags: eggplant

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