"And my baby cooks her Eggplant/ 'Bout 19 different ways./ Sometimes I just have it raw/ with Mayonnaise." ("Eggplant," lyrics by Michael Franks) Most people I know aren't fond of eggplant. They haven't discovered, as jazzman Michael Franks sings, that eggplant can be cooked "'bout 19 different ways." The French know better. They call it aubergine—a lovely name for a versatile fruit. And although we think of it as a vegetable, it really is a fruit—specifically a berry—related to the tomato and potato. Ranging in color from white to green to dark purple and in size from 2 to 12 inches, eggplant can be baked, braised, boiled, fried, grilled, roasted, sautéed or stewed, finding a home in all kinds of dishes, from dips to entrées. Here are six recipes (not quite 19) that showcase summertime eggplants in all their colorful glory.
—By David Feder