From a simple kitchen standpoint, what sets eggplants apart from other summer garden produce is that they require cooking.
Photo: Johnny Miller
When raw, the flesh of eggplant is spongy and plain. But once roasted, grilled, sautéed, or stir-fried, the eggplant comes into its full glory: tender, creamy flesh with a satisfying meatiness that makes it ideal for something like a Vietnamese-style veggie sandwich. Or you can serve it as a sort of warm side salad with tangy-sweet pepper sauce, a perfect flavor pairing.
See More: Cooking with Eggplant