Tens of thousands of average American housewives know but one way of cooking it, and not one in a hundred performs that one properly.
When only half fried, or soaked with grease, this vegetable is an abomination to the educated palate and the self-respecting stomach. When tender and thoroughly cooked, it is one of the most delicious of the summer and fall garden products.
Peel an eggplant and cut into slices half an inch thick. Lay in cold salt water for an hour; wipe each slice dry and dip, first in beaten egg, and then in cracker dust. Set in a cold place for an hour and fry in deep boiling cottolene or other fat. Drain in a heated colander before dishing.
Wash and wipe a large eggplant and parboil it in boiling salted water for ten minutes. Let it get perfectly cold, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the center, leaving the walls of the vegetable three-quarters of an inch thick. Chop the pulp fine and add to it a small cupful of minced chicken, half a cupful of minced ham,.a quarter of a cupful of bread-crumbs, a tablespoon-ful of melted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, add enough soup stock to make a stiff paste, and fill the hollow sides with this. When full and rounded, sprinkle the forcemeat with bread-crumbs, and lay the halves, side by side, in a bakepan, pouring three cupfuls of soup stock around them. Bake nearly an hour, basting every ten minutes. Remove the eggplant to a hot platter, thicken the gravy left in the pan with browned flour, boil up once on top of the range, stirring constantly, and pour this browned sauce about the base of the halved eggplant.
Pare off the skin, cut into dice and lay in cold salt water for an hour. Then parboil for twenty minutes. Drain well and pack in a buttered bake-dish, alternately, with fine crumbs. Dot each layer with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and strew with finely-minced sweet green peppers. Fill the dish in this order, cover with a layer of crumbs wet with cream; dot with butter, cover and bake half an hour, then brown.
Halve the eggplant and remove the insides as in the last recipe but one. Make a forcemeat of the eggplant pulp, a cupful of chopped ripe tomatoes, one chopped green pepper, and a cupful of bread-crumbs. Season with a tablespoonful of melted butter and salt and pepper. Fill the hollow sides with this mixture, bind the two halves together with wide tape, and bake, basting frequently with melted butter and hot water. When tender, transfer to a hot platter, cut and remove the tape, and pour hot tomato sauce about the eggplant.
Prepare as for eggplant on the half-shell by halving and scooping out the pulp, leaving substantial walls. Chop the pulp and cover with hot water. Season with a tablespoonful of onion juice, salt and pepper, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Take from the fire, drain, turn into a bowl and work in two tablespoon-fuls of soft bread-crumbs, one tablespoonful of finely-chopped capers, two tablespoonfuls of cold boiled tongue, minced, and, when well-mixed, add salt to taste.
Pack this forcemeat closely into each half, and fit the two parts together, binding securely together with tapes or soft twine.
Put into your covered roaster; pour enough weak stock around it to come one-third of the way up the side, bake, covered, half an hour, then turn and cook the other side. Undo the strings, lay the eggplant carefully in the middle of a hot dish, and pour a good sauce piquante over and around it.