Are there any two pieces of summer produce that are closer companions than tomatoes and eggplants?*
The inseparable pair reminds me of the main characters in Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series. Eggplant would, of course, be Frog: tall and lanky, yet bulbous in all the right places. And tomato would be Toad: squat and rotund, and, as the Wikipedia page says, "just as caring and friendly as Frog, [but] also the more serious and uptight of the duo." (That's right: Don't squeeze your tomatoes.)
Why do the two work so well together? The sweet, juicy tomatoes balance the slightly-bitter, sometimes-spongy, sometimes-silky eggplant, with the two tag-teaming in pastas, curries, stews, spreads, and casseroles.
We're celebrating summer's bestest friends in nineteen recipes where the BFFs shine. We will start, of course, with eggplant Parmesan.
* Well, besides tomato and corn, tomato and basil, tomato and nectarines... Tomatoes are popular dudes!
A Parmigiana di Melanzane that you'd find in Sicily, this one's made with real-deal fried eggplant. Layer the silky, golden-brown slices with a simple sauce made from tomato purée, grated Parmesan, and tons of fresh basil (but skip the mozzarella).
If you're wary to fry, try any of these three recipes, where the eggplant gets baked before it's layered with tomato sauce. You could also grill it! (In Giulia Melucci's recipe, the casserole is scattered with a breadcrumb-walnut topping for extra crunchy crispness.)
What's your favorite way to combine eggplant and tomatoes? Tell us in the comments below!