Tired of the greasy, mushy and generally bland eggplant parms that pervade this city’s red-sauce spots, we fanned out to find worthy uses of the versatile vegetable, in season locally through October.
“Eggplant is a vegetarian cliché food,” says Rich Landau, chef of vegan-friendly Horizons. But Landau updates it successfully with a savory lasagna featuring smoked eggplant mousse, layered with a pistachio onion confit between wide noodles with a creamy porcini sauce.
611 South 7th Street, 215-923-6117, horizonsphiladelphia.com.
Osteria’s 700-degree wood-fired oven produces some wonderful things, including the eggplant atop this crisp-crusted pizza. The eggplant slices are baked, picking up a smoky taste, and then presented ever so simply with tomatoes, dried oregano and stracciatella cheese.
640 North Broad Street, 215-763-0920, osteriaphilly.com.
New strip-mall spot Thai L’Elephant offers some of the region’s best Thai food—and has no fewer than four eggplant dishes on the small menu. Our favorite: the warm aubergine salad, a half-eggplant bowl filled with char-grilled purple Asian eggplant and minced chicken in a medium-spicy chili-lime sauce, plus two tempura shrimp for good measure.
277 Schuylkill Road, Phoenixville, 610-935-8613.