I'm in love with eggplants.
At times, I have despised them because they made the inside of my mouth itchy. I think they just weren't cooked well enough.
There is no al dente eggplant!
We have two cooking techniques that work great. You can slice and lightly oil the stuff, and roast it the oven until it gets soft. That's nice if you already have the oven going. The other way is to hitch a ride on the grill when you are burning meat outdoors. Leave it whole, unpeeled, and stab a few fork holes in it. Let it go until you can easily slide a knife all the way through. If you take the meat off the grill, you can now put the lid on, and roasting will happen quickly.
We used the grill for this charming eggplant caviar. The recipe from the Silver Spoon is SO simple. It is like a gift to be informed by an authority that good food is simple. Sigh. A little salt and pepper, a gludge of olive oil and a squirt of lemon.
It was too hard to use a potato masher on, so I whirled it in my new mini-prep. That thing is magic! Easy to use, easy to clean, easy to lug around. My new favorite thing.
Oh, don't forget the buttered toast. The Silver Spoon said so.