Hijacked by its emoji, eggplant needs a PR makeover – these dishes by Fiona Smith put its deliciousness firmly in focus.

The abundance of eggplant at this time of year is such a wonderful thing. I’m sure I have sung the virtues of ratatouille on these pages many times before; it’s my favourite go-to summer dish. But my love of eggplant doesn’t stop there. A true kitchen chameleon, eggplant lends itself to so many styles of cooking and cuisines, its absorbent flesh soaking up flavour so well. The key to a great eggplant dish is cooking it fully; so often people think they don’t like eggplant because they have tasted it undercooked which is just nasty. It should give absolutely no resistance when pierced with a knife or fork and be melt-in-the-mouth tender.