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Eggplant with Tomato & Garlic Sauce


Serves four.

You can't go wrong with this Turkish classic—even with canned tomatoes, it tastes great, served at room temperature or chilled. The flavor improves after a day or two, so make it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator. It's a delicious side dish or starter. 

  • 1 medium globe eggplant (about 1-1/4 lb.)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1-1/2 lb. sweet, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (to yield 3 cups)
  • 1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
  • 2-1/2 tsp. red-wine vinegar; more as needed

Fry the eggplant: Partially peel the eggplant lengthwise, leaving 1/2-inch stripes of skin. Remove the stem. For large eggplant, quarter it lengthwise first. Slice the eggplant just thicker than 1/4 inch. Sprinkle generously with salt and let stand in a colander for about 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly and firmly squeeze each slice dry, patting with paper towels. In a large skillet over high heat, warm about 1/2 cup olive oil until very hot. Fry the eggplant slices a single layer at a time until rich brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes. per side; use more oil if needed. Drain on paper towels.

Make the sauce: Discard the oil from the pan and wipe it clean. Warm 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with a little salt; simmer, mashing the tomatoes with a fork, until they form a sauce and are no longer liquidy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and vinegar; remove from the heat.

Fan the eggplant slices on a platter and coat with the tomato sauce. Let cool and then refrigerate for at least a day. Serve cold or at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 220, Fat (kcal): 18, Fat Calories (g): 160, Saturated Fat (g): 2, Protein (g): 3, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Carbohydrates (mg): 15, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 160, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I've made this twice in 2 weeks -- because the kids begged for it again! -- with assorted varieties of eggplant and tomatoes from the farm. Both times served it hot the night I made it. The second time I more than doubled the tomato sauce and plated pasta, then the eggplant, then the sauce.

I am a lover of eggplant, but this is one of the best side dishes I've ever had. I did substitute fresh tomatoes with Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes (no salt added during cooking time) and came out with a fabulous result.

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