I used to be really intimidated by cooking eggplant. Looking back on it, I am not entirely sure why. I think one reason might be that I didn't know that eggplant could be steamed. Which is definitely the way to go if you are new to the eggplant game. My sister-in-law Linh made this steamed eggplant dish a few weeks ago. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. It is sweet and salty and unexplainably satisfying to eat. I hounded her until she revealed her secrets to me. Which I will now reveal to you!
There are many types of eggplants in the nightshade family, which is the same family as peppers and tomatoes. The one pictured above is called Graffiti eggplant, which I had never heard of until about a week ago. It is both beautiful and delicious! Here is a fun round-up of different eggplant varieties and what to do with them.
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil (or a comparable neutral vegetable oil)
Cube the eggplant into bite-sized chunks and steam until fork tender. I don't have a steamer basket, so I just put a strainer over a pot of boiling water and threw a lid on it. While the eggplant is cooking, combine ginger, scallions, sesame oil and canola oil over low heat until fragrant (about 8 minutes). Season with salt. Plate the eggplant and drizzle with ginger scallion oil and then soy sauce.
You can throw this together in 10 minutes and is a great side dish. Or a snack. Which is how I justify that Mike and I ate it about one minute after I was done photographing it.