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Vegetables: Eggplant

It's hard to imagine south Italian cooking without eggplant -- on pasta, grilled, stewd, roasted, stuffed and more.

Petonciani: Artusi on Eggplant
Petonciano (plural petonciani) is an old Tuscan term for eggplant, and seems fitting for these eggplants from a Tuscan vegetable patch. In introducing petonciani in La Scienza in Cucina, Pellegrino Artusi said the vegetable was hard to find in Florentine markets when he was young (the 1850s)...

Light Eggplant Parmesan Recipe - A Lighter Version Of Eggplant Parmesan
Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Eggplant Parmesan, is one of Naple's signature dishes, and extraordinarily good. However, preparing it is time consuming, and it is quite rich -- not the sort of thing one can make when rushed or on a diet. This lighter version is easy to do, and goes quickly.

Melanzane All'Elisabetta - Elisabetta's Stuffed Eggplant
Different people cook differently, I tend to follow a recipe, at least the first time, whereas Wife Elisabetta tends to poke about in the fridge and improvise. This time there were eggplants, and some ricotta, and the results were nice enough to jot down.

Pasta and Eggplant Parmesan – Parmigiana di Paste e Melanzane Grigliate
The classic Parmigiana is a Neapolitan treat, eggplant smothered in a heady tomato sauce with a terrific charge from freshly grated Parmigiano. The results are frankly libidinous, combining both energy and passion. Add some pasta and you’ve got an excellent variation that’s good both hot and cold. In other words, fine at home, but also perfect for picnics!

Walter's Variazione della Parmigiana, Illustrated
Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Eggplant Parmesan, is justly one of the favorite summer dishes throughout Italy. However, the classic Neapolitan recipe is -- by modern standards -- heavy, because the eggplant are fried before they receive their cheesy tomatoey seasoning. Walter Smittarello of the Antica Osteria Al Castello in Sorio di Gambellara has...

Eggplant Involtini with Walnuts -- Involtini di Melanzana alle Noci
Eggplant Involtini with Walnuts, or Involtini di Melanzana alle Noci: Eggplant take qute well to being sliced and rolled to make involtini; this is a quick easy recipe that is quite newfangled in style, and will work nicely as part of a light lunch, especially if made with care, at which point it becomes quite impressive.

Cheesy Stuffed Eggplant -- Melanzane Imbottite di Formaggio
Cheesy Stuffed Eggplant, or Melanzane Imbottite di Formaggio: Cheese and eggplant are a wonderful combination. This recipe calls for Caciocavallo , though it will work just as well with Provolone.

Calabrian Eggplant -- Melanzane Calabre
Melanzane Calabre -- -- Calabrian Eggplan

Microwaved Eggplant
Microwaved Eggplant: This is from Aggie, who also shared a delightful pan-fried artichoke dish.

Chilled Eggplant -- Melanzane Fredde
Chilled Eggplant, or Melanzane Fredde: This is an unusual, but tasty recipe from Versilia, on the Tuscan coast. It could work as either an antipasto, or a side dish.

Eggplant Packed in Oil -- Melanzane Sott'Olio
Eggplant Packed in Oil, or Melanzane Sott'Olio: This is a Jewish recipe from Ancona; Giuliana Ascoli Vitali-Norsa that it will work well for Kippur.

Grilled Eggplant -- Melanzane alla Griglia
Melanzane alla Griglia, or Grilled Eggplant: Luc writes, "Hi I'm looking for a recipe for marinated eggplant mild and hot." I'm not sure I've ever had raw marinated eggplant. However, it's common practice to marinate eggplant, grill it, and return it to the marinade to be eaten cold. This is mild-flavored; should you prefer it hotter add some shredded fresh hot pepper to the marinade. This makes an excellent antipasto or side dish, and will serve 4.

Jewish Eggplant -- Melanzane alla Giudea
Mira Sacerdoti says, in presenting this recipe in her Italian Jewish Cooking, that it is quite popular and is known by this name even in the most elegant restaurants. Of the North, perhaps, because Northerners didn't eat eggplant that often until quite recently: Artusi, writing a little more than a century ago, noted it was hard to come by in the Florentine markets of his youth (the 1850s), where it was considered Jewish food. Because it is fried, this dish is well suited to Hanukkah.

A Novel Stuffed Eggplant -- Involtini di Melanzana
RAI 2, one of Italy's state-run networks, transmits cooking demonstrations at 2 in the afternoon (no such thing as the cooking channel here). On one of them the chef did an interesting Involtino di Melanzane (baked eggplant rolls) that looked quite good.

Stuffed Egglplant -- Milangiane Chjine
There are many kinds of stuffed eggplant. This is Calabrian, with bread crumbs and Romano cheese.

Baked Eggplant -- Melanzane in Pirofila
Some baked eggplant dishes are quite elaborate, and they are very nice, when you're in the mood for them. When you instead want something simple, this will hit the spot.

Baked Eggplant with Olives -- Melanzane al Forno Con le Olive
The flavors of eggplant and olives complement each other quite well and work very nicely in this dish.

Stuffed Eggplant with Tomato Sauce -- Melanzane Ripiene alla Salsa di Pomodoro
Eggplant is extraordinarily versatile. This Neapolitan recipe is from Cavalcanti, a famed 18th century Gastronome; it will serve 6 and is perfect for an elegant meal.

Eggplant in Green Sauce -- Melanzane in Salsa Verde
Eggplant is extremely versatile. Here, round eggplants will work best.

Stewed Eggplant -- Melanzane a Fungetiello
A fungetiello, i.e. al funghetto, means “cooked in the manner one would cook mushrooms,” and though I have never encountered mushrooms stewed with olives eggplant are quite nice this way. The recipe is Neapolitan, from Carola Francesconi’s La Cucina Napoletana, and serves 6.

Scapece Eggplant -- Melanzane a Scapece
Melanzane a Scapece are marinated eggplant; the word scapece derives from the Spanish (who ruled in Naples) and can be applied to any dish (usually fish or vegetable) marinated in a sweet-and-sour sauce. This particular eggplant scapece is quite refreshing in summer and should be made a day ahead.

Eggplant in a Carriage -- Melanzane in Carrozza
A dish that's in carrozza has mozzarella, and is fried; it's also extremely Neapolitan, and if done right is superb. Her we have perhaps the most classic version, with eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan -- Melanzane alla Parmigiana
In introducing this greatest of Neapolitan dishes, Ms. Francesconi tells of going to a wonderful restaurant on the Isle of Ischia, long before it was taken over by the hoards of modern tourists, to enjoy the Pirozzi Sisters Parmigiana di Melanzane. It had a special touch nobody could figure out, some said eggs, and others even suggested...

The Little Caponata, Capunatina
CapuSome versions of caponata can be amazingly baroque. Here's one as quick and simple as it is tasty.

Caponata alla Siciliana
The dish more people probably associate with Sicily than any other is caponata, a (generally) eggplanty delight that has now spread throughout the Peninsula, much in the manner of cotoletta alla milanese. As is the case with the cotoletta, which is one thing in Milano and too often something else elsewhere, much of the caponata one encounters outside of Sicily is a shadow of what it should be -- a zesty summer dish that's ideal for perking up an indolent appetite on a hot day.

About Eggplant
A few words on selecting eggplant and their place in the Italian diet.

Pickled Eggplant
A recipe from Anne's grandmother, Josephine Caravetta.

Caponata alla Palermitana
In Palermo, cooks often add fish to their caponata. Here's a simple version.

Caponata della Baronessa di Carni
An astonishingly sumptuous caponata that will be perfect at an important occasion.

Eggplant Boats with Musrooms and Sausages
A hearty antipasto!

Caponata
A delicious South Italian stewed vegetable dish, from the Cyber Kitchen.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole
Very tasty looking, from the folks at The Artisan.

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