I am surprised that ten plus posts in to this blog, and I've yet to have an entry about eggplants. Ludicrous! I used to not eat very much of this fruit-confused-as-a-vegetable (but we'll call it a vegetable anyway), but after participating in some "clean" eating programs, I was really hooked. Eggplants make up one of my favorite lazy girl meals: simply roasted eggplant "spears" with baby kale and an egg or sausage (or egg and sausage). But for when I'm feeling fancy, I like to dress them up. Madhur Jaffrey's recipe for eggplant with tomatoes is really just the thing for an easy and savory weeknight dinner. As an added bonus, it reheats beautifully! Just make sure to cover your bowl or container when reheating so you don't have to clean up any red splashes on the inside of your microwave.
Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side
- 1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds medium-sized eggplants, sliced into 2" x 1" chunks
- 5 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
- 1 dried hot red chili
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes and their juices
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/2 salt + salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: cilantro, green onion, fresh cherry tomatoes
Turn on the broiler, with an oven rack about 5-6 inches away from the top (this was the highest rack for me). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and toss the eggplants, 2 tbs of olive oil, and 1/2 tsp salt together directly on the lined baking sheet. Arrange the eggplants skin side down if possible. Broil the eggplants for about 15 minutes until cooked.
Pour the remaining 3 tbs olive oil into a large saute pan with a lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and chili. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, toss in the garlic. Stir the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn. Add the tomatoes, eggplants, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and turn to low, cooking the eggplant gently for about 20 minutes and stirring occasionally, until the eggplants are tender and smothered in the sauce.
Garnish with any mixture of cilantro, green onions, and cherry tomatoes, and enjoy! I ate this plain one night and with some sauteed greens another. I can also see it being lovely with simply grilled fish or meat as well.