Don't be afraid of the big, bad eggplant -- or the little ones for that matter, either. Eggplant used to be a bit of a hassle to prep: "purging" the eggplant, particularly the larger globe variety, with a salt rub to eliminate bitterness and reduce the amount of cooking oil the eggplant would absorb.
But today is another story. Veggie lovers, rejoice! Modern eggplant varieties generally don't have the bitterness associated with their forefathers, and Asiatic eggplants (Chinese, Japanese and Indian varieties) don't tend to soak up much oil, making eggplant one of the easiest veggies to bake, roast, grill, sauté, broil or stuff.
Ergo, nowadays there's no need to prep the eggplant by purging; you can just go straight to the fun part of any aubergine recipe. Eggplant's texture is just spongy enough to be satisfying to a meat-eater, yet its mild, versatile flavor makes it a champion among vegetarians.
We've been traveling by eggplant: Italian eggplant parmigiana, Arabian baba ghanoush and a Florida uncle's stewed eggplant with tomatoes. This veggie thing may work out okay!
So, how do you do eggplant? Please share your favorite ideas: eggplant deserves an audience.