Monday, October 8, 2007
Buttery Soft Fried Eggplant with Smoky Tomato Sauce
You may notice that this post is tagged "work snacks" and wonder what kind of barn I was raised in. I'll tell you: one in which my dad and my grandma made meltingly tender fried eggplant spiced with paprika and served it cold or at room temperature. This is actually a common thing for Syrian Jews to serve at room temperature for Saturday lunch, so why not have it for Tuesday snack in a little Tupperware? Of course, it's also delicious over cooked grains for dinner (we chose a red quinoa-brown rice mix), with lemon wedges to cut the grease. We've moved the paprika from the eggplant to a seat-of-the-pants dipping sauce we created with our abundance of roasted tomatoes, but if you're not into big canning projects, we provide alternate instructions for roasting tomatoes while you do other stuff.
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Peanut or canola oil for frying
7 roasted tomatoes (if you have them) or 7 medium fresh tomatoes
Olive oil for roasting tomatoes
1 chipotle chile
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ratatouille is So Last Year
If you don't have roasted tomatoes, start here: roll the whole tomatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake on 300 for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.
In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the chipotle and cover with a plate while you do everything else.
Place eggplant slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes--the salt will leach out all the bitterness and it will collect in a brown pool at the bottom of the bowl (and to think you usually eat that!). Pat the eggplant slices dry, which will make them fry up nicely.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large frying pan. When a drop of water sizzles on contact with the oil, add the eggplant slices in a single layer (you'll need to do more than one batch). Fry for about 3 minutes, flip, and fry for 3 minutes on the other side. Remove finished slices to a paper-towel-lined plate.
When all eggplant slices are fried, remove the stem and seeds from the chipotle and drop in the food processor with tomatoes (recently roasted or from your fridge), paprika and salt. Process until smooth. Drizzle sauce over eggplant and serve with a lemon wedge.