Friday, February 09, 2007

Excellent eggplant salad

One of my Christmas gifts was the cookbook The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein. I want to make almost all the recipes in it! I haven't had the time to make too many of the dishes yet, but I wanted to share one particular dish I have made that I thought was FABULOUS.

Eggplant Salad

1 medium eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 med. onion (about 6 oz.), chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb. tomatoes, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 t. dried
1 t. chopped fresh mint
1/4 t. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 c. black olives, pitted and halved
1 T. drained capers
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, thyme, mint, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occsionally, until the eggplant is tender, the mixture is thickened and the liquids are greatly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the olives, capers, parsley and cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

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I left out the olives and capers, because I don't like them, and doubled the vinegar to compensate for the lack of their sharpness. This is an extremely versatile dish -- it can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. It makes a great stuffing for pitas (its intended use), and I couldn't get enough of it as a bruschetta topping. I could also see it being mixed with pasta.

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