The Chinese were the first to grow eggplant in 59 B.C. Up until then, eggplant had simply been a wild vegetable that grew mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Truth be told, eggplant must be cooked to unlock its true flavour. By cooking eggplant, you eliminate the saponins which give this purple, fibre-rich vegetable its uninviting texture and taste.
Eggplant is mainly used in ratatouille and moussaka. It can also be served on its own, unpeeled—its skin is very rich in antioxidants—grilled or marinated.