Sunday, February 5, 2012
This is my second favourite way to cook eggplant.
As an aside, I'll tell you about my #1 favourite eggplant dish. That was a tagine at a little Morroccan restaurant in Lisbon, that you had to skirt past laneway diners and up steep staircases and around dim corners to get to. I have to confess, Robbie and I visited 3 of the 4 nights we romanced that splendid city.
Every night, I ate eggplant tagine.
Some of you out there will be chastising me - how could I limit myself to one dish at one restaurant in such a magnificently exotic place as Lisbon?
The rest of you get it. I could've eaten that dish every single day till I developed an allergy to it. It was my food soul-mate equivalent. To this day, I haven't found a recipe that does my memory justice.
But it's a memory. Does it need justice?
Anyway, #2 isn't a tagine recipe, though it's loosely mediterranean and founded on eggplant. It's simple yet tastes amazing with pasta, rice, couscous or on its own.
Oh, and red wine. Always good with red wine.
So. Have you met your food soul-mate? Please dish ...
Slow-cooked Eggplant and Olive Stew
15 min prep + 45 min cooking
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs butter
8 cups chopped eggplant
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs red wine vinegar, plus 1 Tbs extra to taste
700 mL jar of passata (tomato puree)
300 mL water
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp sea salt (smoked, if possible), plus extra to taste
crumbled organic feta cheese, to serve (optional)
fresh organic oregano, to serve (optional)
*As always, try to use organic ingredients when you can - particularly for animal products like cheese and herby greens.
1. In a large pot, saute the onion in the butter over med-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and stir it through; cover and reduce the heat. Cook together for ~15 minutes.
2. Add the olives, garlic, vinegar, passata, water and seasonings. Stir through and bring back to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 45-60 minutes. Prepare whatever you're going to have this with.
3. Adjust the seasoning and tartness with salt and vinegar; serve with rice or pasta and with crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano (if you have it) on top.
My batch of organic stew cost me about $1.50-$2 per serving, depending on local market prices, and not including the rice.