8 different ways to appreciate the underrated summer veggie: eggplant!
In Italy, there's no need to convince anyone to give melanzana (eggplant!) a try - it's a beloved vegetable that can be found on just about every menu in the summer months.
Giada has long championed her love of eggplant, deeming it one of the more underrated vegetables in the States. "I grew up eating eggplant, so it’s never seemed exotic to me, but it’s one of those veggies like fennel or okra for which people often need to acquire a taste." says Giada. "Somehow eggplant just doesn’t seem sexy, having a reputation for tasting bland and greasy, and it’s true that if prepared incorrectly it can soak up a lot of oil during the cooking process. But if the only way you’ve ever eaten it is breaded, fried, and doused with cheese and marinara sauce, you’ve never really tasted eggplant."
In summer, a trip to the farmer's market will showcase a wide variety of eggplants, from pure white (the earliest variety and the one that inspired its name) to nearly black and brightly striped in fuchsia. Giada's preference has always been the Japanese eggplant, the slender variety which tends to be less bitter, spongy and seedy at the center as the bigger specimens can be - this makes it a great choice for dishes that aren't cooked down for as long. However, all varieties can be showcased and made into something absolutely delicious.
Whether fried, pureed, grilled, roasted or stewed, there are ample ways to enjoy this hearty vegetable. Scroll down for our favorite Italian eggplant recipes to get started!