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Eggplant Recipes To Try This Summer, From Dips To Parmesan

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We never met an eggplant we didn't like, but we know it's been a tougher road for some people. If you've ever referred to eggplant as spongy, slimy and bland, you are doing something wrong. This amazing member of the nightshade family is probably one of the most versatile ingredients we can think of. What eggplant does best is soak up the flavors of whatever you cook it with. If you make sure its surroundings are delicious, the eggplant will be delicious as well. (And don't worry, Gwyneth Paltrow isn't eating them anymore, so there's more for us.)

A few things to keep in mind when you shop for eggplant (or aubergine, if you're shopping in the UK): Not all eggplants are created equal. You'll want to match your eggplant to a cuisine close to its origins. For preparations like eggplant parmesan, go for a big, stout Italian eggplant. When stir-frying with chiles, the denser, smaller Japanese eggplant works best. For Thai eggplant recipes, we love baby green eggplants. Whichever eggplant you choose, make sure it's firm to the touch, shiny and free of blemishes. If your eggplant is mushy before you cook it, it probably won't fare much better afterward.

One last thing before you go cook all the eggplants: Because this spongy treat is so great at soaking up flavor, it also soaks up oil -- if you are sautéing eggplant, it almost always takes a little more than you might expect.

Now that you're armed with these basic eggplant rules, go forth and try some recipes this summer. Here are 43 different ways to do it.

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