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We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring eggplant.
A quick search on the Internet for eggplant recipes will quickly result in one Parmigiana recipe after another. While I can’t help but love that fried, cheesy dish — especially Alex Guarnaschelli’s version — there are numerous recipes that feature this purple, pear-shaped berry in lighter ways, especially on the grill, which will keep your kitchen cool during the summer months.
Ideal for entertaining or just a simple weeknight side, Giada’s Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad (pictured above) is ready in less than 20 minutes and makes for a stunning presentation. Grilled eggplant is tossed with olive oil, pine nuts, chopped mint and basil with crumbled goat cheese. Not a fan of goat cheese? Try her Eggplant and Asparagus Napoleons that are layered with ricotta cheese, fresh basil, lemon and asparagus spears.
If you need a cheese-free dish to pair with grilled steak or chicken, try Bobby’s Farro Salad With Grilled Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onion. If you’ve never cooked with farro before, it’s a cereal grain that belongs to the wheat family and has a chewy structure and a rich, nutty flavor. Bobby combines his farro with bold flavors from red onions, baby eggplants and fresh dill; a sherry vinaigrette brings the dish together.
Editor’s Note: When buying, look for smaller varieties — they usually have a sweeter flavor and a thinner skin.
Talk to us: What’s your favorite way to eat eggplant? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter at #cookingwith.
More eggplant recipes from family and friends:
Food2: Around the Eggplant in Eight Ways
What’s Gaby Cooking: Eggplant Chips with a Cilantro Cashew Dipping Sauce
Taste With The Eyes: Indian Eggplant, Lemon Confit, Garlic and Thai Basil
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Marinated Eggplant Sandwiches
Sassy Radish: Eggplant Caviar
The Little Kitchen: Roasted Zucchini and Eggplant Lasagna
Big Apple Nosh: Baba Ganoush
Kimberly Michelle: Grilled E&O with Roasted P Panini