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Rich, complex, earthy, and full-bodied: like a fine wine, eggplant has a flavor profile that pairs well with just about anything. These summer-inspired recipes take advantage of eggplant’s subtle taste and show what it can bring to the texture of a dish, from adding creaminess to a spicy dip and “meatiness” to an herb-laced stew, to serving as an edible bowl for a savory millet-and-lentil stuffing.
Pick of the Crop
PURPLE GLOBE OR AMERICAN EGGPLANTS are glossy and can be oval or pear-shaped. Smaller ones are sometimes called Italian eggplants. Choose eggplants that are heavy for their size, with glossy skin and no soft spots. Avoid larger, duller-skinned specimens, which tend to be overmature and seedier inside.
EGG-SHAPED WHITE EGGPLANTS probably gave the veggie its American name. Indian eggplants, also egg-shaped, have red-purple skins. To show off their shape, cook them in halves.
ELONGATED ASIAN EGGPLANTS are slender, thin-skinned, and quick-cooking. They include the dark purple Japanese, the milder light purple Chinese, and the pale-green and purple-tinged Filipino.
ROUND THAI EGGPLANTS, sometimes called apple eggplants, are golf ball-sized and have pale green skin (often with yellow or white striations). Quarter or halve before cooking.