Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Garlicky Eggplant Salad with Tomato Sauce

This one is an easy appetizer/salad recipe from Food and Wine which tastes wonderful. I think it is a Moroccan recipe and I have made some Turkish changes to it:)

Instead of steaming the eggplant I char it on open flame on the gas burner. I like the smoky taste better, and I'm used to charring it. Use a pizza pan that has holes all around if you don't want to have a mess in your hands. It takes a little bit longer but it's much easier than cleaning the gas burner:) When it was done, I took the skin off and I just mashed it with a fork instead of cutting it into pieces.

If you don't have canned tomatoes, you can use fresh tomatoes instead. I actually prefer it that way. You can just add some canned plain tomato sauce. A small can (about 8 oz. should be enough).

Don't add the lemon all at once. Taste it as you add a bit at a time. To me, the recipe was too lemony. And taste it before you add the cilantro. I skip it, to me the dish tastes better without it.



2 pounds small eggplants, peeled and cut into eighths
6 medium garlic cloves, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
one 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped and juices reserved
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan fitted with a large steamer basket, bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Add the eggplant and garlic to the steamer. Cover the saucepan and steam the eggplant over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices along with the cilantro, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Drain the steamed eggplant and garlic in a colander, pressing gently to extract any excess water. Transfer to a bowl and finely mash the garlic and coarsely mash the eggplant with a fork, then scrape them both into the tomato sauce. Add the fresh lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the eggplant salad at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Makes 6 servings.

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