Friday, August 19, 2011

Marinated Eggplants

So, maybe you're getting a little tired of baking with eggplant and heating up your kitchen: it is August, after all.  Well, do I have the recipe for you!  This marinated eggplant is one of my favorite summer meals.  Okay, you do have to the stove top for a little bit, but you can make a batch to last a week and it's definitely worth a little sweat.  I found this in Recipes from an Italian Summer, a wonderful cookbook for working with summer produce.

- About 1 1/2 lb. eggplant, any variety large enough to slice
- 3/4 c. flavorful olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, and roughly chopped
- 10 mint leaves, chopped
- a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper

- If the eggplant is thick-skinned, peel it.  Slice the eggplant into 1/4" rounds.
- Sprinkle the slices with salt and let them drain over a colander for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry.  Brush them lightly with olive oil: it's important to use a brush and a light hand here, (don't drizzle!), or they will just soak up the oil in some spots.
-  Heat a heavy skillet over high heat.
- Add the eggplant slices in a single layer, cooking them in batches.  Turn them once to lightly brown them on both sides.  They should lose a lot of their moisture and appear a bit shriveled.
- Whisk the remaining oil, (most of it), with the remaining ingredients.
- Create a layer of eggplant and add a few spoonfuls of the dressing, being sure to get some of the chunky bits.
- Repeat, stacking layers, until all of the eggplant and dressing is used.
- Cover and chill for at least 6 hours before use.

This eggplant is delicious served with some mozzarella or as part of a caprese salad.  It is sublime, if a tad oily, sandwiched between sourdough with some mozzarella and pressed into a panini.  I think it would be a great accompaniment to a tender chimichurri-marinated steak.  If, for some reason, you have extra marinade it makes great salad dressing, too.


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