Eggplant Mushroom Style
(Melanzane al Funghetto)
Eggplant was always an ingredient that I could take or leave. And then I went to Sicily and discovered eggplant in all its glory. It has become a regular star in my cooking. In this recipe, we treat eggplant as we might treat mushrooms in cooking to create an earthy, almost sweet dish that I love to serve as an appetizer with crunchy whole grain bread.
Makes 6-8 servings
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, left whole
- 1 large Italian eggplant, peeled, diced into 1-inch pieces, soaked in salted water for 1 hour
- Sea salt
- Generous pinch crushed red chili flakes
- 15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4-5 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, stems discarded
Step By Step Instructions:
Place olive oil in a large, deep skillet to generously cover the bottom of the pan, along with garlic cloves over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, remove from pan and discard. Drain the eggplant and rinse very well. Add eggplant and stir to coat with oil, adding more oil if the eggplant seems dry as it soaks up oil quickly. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring often, until the eggplant is quite soft, about 15-20 minutes. Season lightly with salt and stir in cherry tomatoes. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.