Eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal - whatever you choose to call it, this humble nightshade is a staple in many cuisines around the world. From the creamy Turkish eggplant dip called baba ganoush to the savory Japanese dish nasu dengaku, eggplant is as versatile as it is delicious. In this article, we'll explore four gourmet eggplant recipes that exhibit the true elegance of this often-underestimated vegetable.
1. Grilled eggplant with chimichurri
Grilled eggplant has a smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with the fresh, tangy taste of chimichurri. This Argentinian sauce, made of parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil, is traditionally served with grilled meats but makes an excellent accompaniment to vegetables as well. To prepare this dish, slice the eggplant into rounds, brush with olive oil, and grill until tender. Meanwhile, make the chimichurri by combining parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil in a food processor. Serve the grilled eggplant with the chimichurri sauce on top.
2. Roasted eggplant and tomato soup
This hearty soup is made by roasting eggplant and tomatoes until they're caramelized and full of flavor. The roasted vegetables are then blended with chicken or vegetable broth to create a creamy, satisfying soup. You can garnish it with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
3. Eggplant involtini
This Italian dish is made by rolling grilled eggplant slices around a filling of ricotta cheese and spinach. The rolls are then baked in a tomato sauce until they're warm and bubbly. It's a great vegetarian entrée that even meat-eaters will love.
4. Spicy Sichuan-style eggplant
This Chinese dish, also known as yuxiang qiezi, is made by stir-frying eggplant with garlic, ginger, and a spicy sauce. The sauce typically includes doubanjiang (fermented broad bean and chili paste), sugar, and vinegar, creating a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
Here's a quick summary of the dishes:
Eggplant is not just a vegetable, it's a culinary chameleon. It can be grilled, baked, roasted, or stir-fried, and it pairs well with a variety of flavors. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or simply trying to eat more vegetables, eggplant is a versatile ingredient that deserves a spot in your kitchen.