|Food Styling & Photography by: Irene Matys|
Growing up in a Mediterranean family, braised vegetables with aromatic flavours were always part of our family meals. This one is especially my favourite!! Tearing off a piece of fresh warm rustic bread and scooping all the delicious flavours made my mouth water. These eggplants also make a wonderful accompaniment to crispy fried eggs, topped on polenta, mash potatoes or couscous. This also can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. When ready serve, warm it very slightly in the oven as the oil tends to congeal on standing.
2 large, firm eggplants
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
5 medium ripe tomatoes
9 tbps. (140 mL) good-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
12 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp. (5 mL) sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. (30 mL) lightly toasted pine nuts, for garnish
1. Line a large backing sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Wash and dry eggplants. Using a vegetable peeler, slice off strips of eggplant skin in 1-inch intervals so that you have a “zebra” effect and cut the stem off.
3. Cut eggplants in ¼ inch thick rounds. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place them on lined baking sheet and bake them on broil until lightly golden on each side.
6. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, ovenproof pan. Sauté the onions over medium heat, stirring until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and all the tomatoes.
7. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut browned eggplants in quarters and add to tomato mixture. Add 4 tbsp. of olive oil. Cover and cook over medium for 10 minutes, stirring the eggplants once.
8. Sprinkle the sugar over the eggplants, add salt and pepper to taste and transfer the pan, covered to the oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, turning the eggplants every 10 minutes. At the end of cooking, all the water should be absorbed and the cooking liquid (oil and tomato juices) should be glossy and caramelized.
9. Cool the eggplant slightly to warm. Carefully transfer the eggplants to a serving platter, spoon the sauce around them, and sprinkle with chopped parsley and pine nuts. Squeeze some of the lemon juice on top, to taste. Serve garnished with additional lemon wedges.