From the classic Provencal dish, to a Mediterranean mom’s staple, to exotic Indian fare made modern, eggplant is the answer to “What should I cook?” in August in Indiana. Not to mention, it’s a great substitute for meat, but it also pairs well with meat as well as with all the delicious vegetables of summer.
Real Simple Ratatouille
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 small bay leaf
- 3 cups eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into slivers
- 4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup shredded fresh basil leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- Over medium-low heat, add the oil to a large skillet with the onion, garlic, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
- Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the eggplant has softened. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil and few grinds of pepper to taste.
Cook’s Note: The dish originates from the South of France, where home cooks would toss tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, eggplant, garlic and herbs into a pot and cook them down to create an irresistible mixture enjoyed hot, cold, on its own, with eggs, over toast, or tossed with pasta.
Mom’s Stuffed Eggplant
- 1 large eggplant
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb. ground beef (or other ground meat)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, small diced
- 1 red pepper, small diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked. Boil the scooped-out center part until very soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned ground beef to the pan and saute until all of its liquid is evaporated and the beef begins to brown slightly. Drain the beef, removing the extra, unnecessary fat. Let cool briefly and chop the cooked beef so that there are no large chunks of meat. In another medium saute pan over medium heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the onions, peppers and garlic together.
- In a bowl mix together the cooked eggplant, vegetables, cooked beef, herbs, 1 cup of the cheese, bread crumbs, and the egg. Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the 2 halves.
- Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese, season with salt and pepper, place on an oiled oven tray or baking dish, and bake for 50 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool briefly, slice widthwise and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Instant Pot Eggplant Masala with Peas
- 1 large eggplant or equivalent of smaller varieties
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Cooked basmati rice, for serving, optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
Special equipment: a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot® multi-cooker
- Poke the eggplant 2 to 3 times on each side with a knife. Put the eggplant on the rack in a 6-quart Instant Pot® and pour 1 cup water into the pot. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes (see Cook’s Note).
- After the pressure-cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick-release cycle is complete. Being careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid. Remove the eggplant and rack. The eggplant should be completely soft and deflated. Set aside.
- Turn the pot to the high saute setting and when hot, add the oil. Stir in the curry powder, cumin and turmeric and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the onions to coat in the oil and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and slightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and stir to coat. Cook until the garlic starts to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and cook until the they break down and lose their structure, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Cut the eggplant into chunks. Add the eggplant and peas to the pot and cook until completely warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add additional salt to taste.
- Serve warm with rice if desired and sprinkle with cilantro and mint. Makes 4 servings.
Cook’s Note: Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
Check out recipe archive for more amazing eggplant recipes!