So I stick with baking. Faced with a shiny fresh eggplant* last week, I cut it into thick slices and subjected it to the same treatment I use on zucchini. Egg wash, a bit of breading, oven baked. The eggplant comes out tender and meaty with a crisp exterior. Add a bit of marinara and some cheese (I used a burricotta, because that's what I had) and you're good to go.
Baked eggplant marinara (probably makes 4 servings, but maybe 2**)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh oregano or rosemary (your choice)
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
1 medium eggplant
~ 1 cup marinara, depending on your sauciness preference (my recipe is here)
4 oz mozzarella or burrata cheese (8 oz would make it more filling, I'm sure, with a higher cheese to eggplant ratio)
: Toss the bread crumbs, parmesan, herbs, garlic, pepper and salt in the food processor and blend it well. Alternatively, finely mince the garlic and use well grated Parmesan and just mix everything together. Put the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.
: Slice the eggplant into nice thick slices (about 1 inch).
: Beat the egg in a wide, shallow dish. Dip each eggplant slice in the egg wash and then shake it off a bit and toss it in the breading. Lay the slices on a baking dish, making sure none of them touch.
: Bake in a 425F oven for about 30 - 40 minutes, turning just once. The exterior should be browned and crisp when finished. The interior should be tender but not mushy.
: Top each slice of eggplant with warm marinara and a bit of cheese. Dig in.
* About eggplant - I know that people frequently complain of it being bitter, thus the salting and rinsing that you see in many recipes. I generally just take a small bite while it's still raw, to make sure it doesn't taste bitter to me and then I proceed. I've never had a bitter eggplant. Maybe I'm just not as sensitive to it? If you tend to dislike the bitterness of eggplant, you can always include a salting step right after you slice it. Just salt the slices well and set them aside for 20 minutes or so and then rinse them and pat them dry before proceeding.
** It looked like four servings, but we both ended up eating seconds. To be fair, we'd gone on a run and we were both pretty hungry and I had very little cheese to top it with. If you had more cheese, or if you were less ravenous, or if you weren't too knackered to make a side dish, you'd probably get four servings out of it.