I love me some eggplant.
I have a hard time pinpointing exactly when I fell in love with those tasty purple critters, but I’ll use just about any excuse to cook with them now. One my the recipes that the Sweet Partner in Crime requests for special occasions is my Eggplant Parmesan, which I make from scratch. Yummy.
Today, though, we’ve got a more Middle Eastern take. This recipe takes a little time to put together, but a good chunk of the cooking time is hands-off, so you can find other things to do while you’re putting it together. This is my take on a recipe from a recent issue of Food & Wine. Here’s what you’ll need:
Get a good, heavy pot. Prick the eggplants on all sides with a fork. Put the pot over medium-low heat, add the eggplant, cover and cook. (Yes, you read that right. Nothing in the pot but the eggplant.) Cook for about 40 minutes, turning a couple of times, until the outside is charred and the inside is soft.
When cooked, transfer the eggplants to a colander. Cut a lengthwise slit in each and allow them to drain for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggplants are cool enough to handle. Cut the eggplants in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Take a mashing utensil (potato masher, bottom of a glass, phone book) and pulverize the eggplant.
Put the pot back on the stove and heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant mush, garlic, and spices. Cook until most of the water has evaporated and the tomatoes start to break down – 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you’re looking for a wine pairing with this, a red from the Rhone region of France is a good bet. I opened a nice Chateauneuf-de-Pape with it, but a good Cotes du Rhone would do nicely.