Eggplant is one of the world's strangest vegetables.
In its raw state, it's nothing but bitter cardboard, but it's beloved across a large swath of Asia and the Middle East because it stands up to strong flavors. It's meaty, it's full of nicotine, and it's a sexual emoji.
Eggplant is the gigolo of edible nightshades.
Fine, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but it's a favorite of chefs thanks to its versatility, and the fact that, like tofu, it readily absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook it with.
Knowing this, chef Bobby Hellen of GG's dropped into the MUNCHIES Garden and picked out a few fine specimens of our Japanese eggplant, which he then soaked in some Chinese black vinegar and lemongrass after giving them a quick sear on the griddle.
He brought the dish together—adding some carrots and long beans along the way—with a healthy dollop of freshly made ricotta, spiced up with a hint of hyssop.
Eggplant can do anything.