Monday, January 27, 2014
The picture above might not look like much but it's a delicious, amazing pile of eggplant, tomato and onion. Does that sound appealing to you? Hopefully so, and you should go make it. I printed this recipe off some site about ... I'd say six years ago. I have no idea where it came from, there's no link at the bottom of the paper or anything so I don't even know where this came from. But trust me when I say that I didn't expect to be so blown away.
Since there are so few ingredients, the best thing to do would be to use the best quality of said ingredients as possible. But no worries if you can't get all-natural, organically grown Chinese/Japanese eggplant. I'm 100% sure that those are not the type sold at 99 Ranch Market and this dish still turns out splendid every time. Make sure you do get the long, skinny Chinese/Japanese eggplant, as opposed to the round Italian ones, as those tend to fall apart and you need your eggplants intact.
1 lb Chinese eggplant
2 lb tomatoes
1 small onion
2 springs thyme
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pasta or lavash
Put on a medium pot of water to boil and heat 2/3 cup oil over medium-high heat in your largest frying pan.
Slice the eggplant into 3/4" rounds. When the oil is hot, arrange the eggplant in a single layer and do not move them. I will say that spattering WILL HAPPEN so be careful. While they are frying, cut an X at the bottom of each tomato and drop in the potful of boiling water for about 30 seconds each, then immediately run them under cold water. This should allow you to peel the skin off each tomato easily.
Check the eggplant and if the bottoms are nicely browned, flip them over and be careful of the spatter. Seed and chop the tomatoes into large chunks, then puree in a food processor until it's relatively smooth (but still slightly chunky in textural). Check the eggplant again, and if the other side has browned, then remove them all to a colander lined with a couple layers of paper towels.
Put the remaining oil in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add in the onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the tomato and thyme. Allow the flavors to come together for a couple minutes, then add salt. It may need to be lots of salt, since it will need to flavor the tomatoes and the eggplant, but you can add more later.
Add the eggplant back into the pan, being careful not to break it into pieces. Simmer everything together, until the sauce is the texture you like. I like to reduce mine quite a ways when I'm eating with lavash, but you can get away with less reducing if you are going to toss it with pasta. Taste at the end, you may need to add more salt. It makes all the difference, so make sure not to skimp.
Enjoy! Hopefully it doesn't take you two hours to make it, like it did for me the first time. But at the time, I was confused with the tomato peeling, etc and was a bit more slow and inexperienced in the kitchen. If you're not good at multitasking, then don't worry about doing the tomatoes at the same time as the eggplant ... just take it one step at a time. Happy eating!