As a non meat-eater, I love eggplant. I could give you a long lists of reasons why but all you really need to know is – ‘eggplant parmigiana’. Oh yes.
It does however make me sad when people don’t understand my love of eggplant, or when I see giant discounted barrels of eggplant because their super-shiny unforgiving flesh is showing blemishes and soft spots. I see people at the market pick them up to inspect, screw up their noses and put them back down despite them being $2 a kg. I’m always intrigued by what it is exactly that they plan on making that will see the skin still perfectly unblemished and shiny in the end….?
So last weekend at the fruit market when I saw the discounted eggplants and picked up 2 big ones for $1.89 (after having to squeeze in next to a man who was spending his Sunday morning inspecting every single one for the ‘perfect’ discounted eggplant), I decided I had to show you at least one way to use this gorgeous little under-appreciated vegetable.
- 2 large eggplants, diced into chunky bite-size pieces
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 can of diced tomatoes + 1 can of water
- ½ a cup of stuffed green olives, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano
- 1 can of chickpeas, well rinsed
- Fresh chilli (optional)
- salt & pepper
- Fry the garlic, capsicum and if using, chilli, in a teaspoon of olive oil for a minute or two.
- Add the eggplant and fry on a low heat, stirring continuously, for a further minute.
- Add tomatoes, water, celery, bay leaves and oregano, bring to the boil (stirring every few minutes), and then turn down to a simmer.
- You're waiting for the sauce to reduce by about half and the eggplant to be fully cooked (completely soft with no resistance to a skewer in the middle).
- Add the olives when the sauce has reduced by about ¼.
- When the eggplant is cooked completely and the sauce has thickened a little, add the chickpeas and stir through. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes to heat through.
- Season with salt & pepper and serve! Either alone, with fresh bread (which I love), with rice, pasta... whatever you like!
My Nonna makes something very similar to this (which is where I got the inspiration). She would keep it in a jar in the fridge and eat it on bread – it’s very similar to caponata.
Do you eat eggplants?