ADINA’S STEWED EGGPLANT IN TOMATO SAUCE

ALL RECIPES, ANTIPASTI (Appetisers), SUGHI, RAGU & PESTO (SAUCES), VEGAN DISHES, VEGETARIAN DISHES

This rustic mediterranean dish is easy to prepare. Thick eggplant slices are shallow fried in a bit of olive oil and then gently simmered in a chunky tomato sauce. The yielding result is extreme melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

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I came across Adina’s blog, Where is my Spoon, just over a year ago. I’m not sure about you, but I always love reading the About page, to learn more about the person behind the blog. When I read Adina’s About page, I was delighted to read the many things we have in common:

1) We both live in Germany, our husbands are German, and we are both moms (the general stuff)

2) When we first moved to Germany, we weren’t very fluent in the German language, but our “kitchen vocabulary was totally impressive” (Adina’s words) 😉

3) We both share a love for cooking and baking (of course), and …

4) We both own hundreds of cookbooks and thousands of recipes! (it’s not too often that I meet someone who collects so many cookbooks and recipes like me … my husband says that I have too many.) 🙂

Adina’s recipes are all about simple home cooked meals. Earlier this year, she started focusing more on the traditional Romanian dishes that her grandmother and mother used to make. When her post for stewed eggplant in tomato sauce popped up in my Inbox, I knew that it was something that I had to try. Eggplant is another common love that we share and it’s a staple ingredient in the Romanian and Calabrian cuisines. 🙂

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I love the beauty and simplicity of this dish! With just a few ingredients and a few simple steps, you get the most flavourful dish. I was not kidding when I wrote that the eggplant is extremely melt-in-your-mouth tender! It should be sliced fairly thick (about 1.5 cm or 3/4 of an inch), so that when it simmers in the sauce, it will hold it’s shape. If you cut it too thin, then it will just disintigrate into the sauce, or it will break apart when you try to pick it up. The eggplant slices are salted and left to sweat for half an hour to draw out it’s bitterness. They are then fried in a bit of olive oil. The original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of oil but I ended up using a little more (eggplant is like a sponge and absorbs a lot of oil). After they are nicely browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.

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While the pan is still hot, quickly saute the minced garlic just until fragrant – no more than 10-15 seconds. Then add the tomato sauce (I used a small can of chunky tomato sauce), along with the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until the tomato paste is dissolved. Then arrange the the eggplant slices so they overlap each other and spoon a bit a sauce on top. Cover the pan tightly and let simmer until tender.

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This dish can either be served warm or at room temperature. I let it cool off a bit before I tried it. I initially spooned a few slices into a bowl, drizzled some olive oil on top, and garnished with coarsely ground black pepper and basil leaves (you can also use parsley). I think a little grated Italian cheese (Parmesan, Pecorino or Grana Padano) sprinkled on top would have also worked well. 🙂

Adina suggests serving this dish with bread or potatoes to round out the meal. I decided to add a bit of Italian flair and served the eggplant over real Italian bruschetta. For those of you who don’t know, it is toasted or grilled sliced bread, rubbed generously with garlic clove, and then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. This is how an old friend of the family taught me to make it, when I was 14 years old. She told me that “la vera bruschetta italiana” has no tomatoes. 🙂

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For an added touch, I drizzled a tad more of olive oil on top. Oh yum! Was this ever delicious! I couldn’t stop eating it! The soft, velvety eggplant married well with the crispy garlicky bread. This would make a great appetiser for eggplant lovers!

I will definitely be making this again! Thanks, Adina, for sharing your grandmother’s eggplant stew! Head over to Adina’s blog to check out her other recipes.

Thanks for reading and buon appetito!!


ADINA’S STEWED EGGPLANT IN TOMATO SAUCE
(Printable Recipe)

This rustic mediterranean dish is easy to prepare. Thick eggplant slices are shallow fried in a bit of olive oil and then gently simmered in a chunky tomato sauce. The yielding result is extreme melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch (1.5 cm) slices
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 14 oz (400 g) can of chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parsley or basil leaves for garnish

Directions:

1. Layer eggplant slices in a large colander, seasoning each layer well with salt. Cover and let it stand for half an hour. Rinse the eggplant with cold water and thoroughly pat dry with kitchen paper or a clean dish towel.

2. In a large cast iron skillet or non-stick pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Fry half the eggplant slices until nicely browned on one side, and then flip them to brown the other side (add a bit more olive oil, if needed). Place them on a dish, and repeat this step with the second half of the eggplants, using the remainder 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

3.  While the pan is still hot, quickly saute and stir the minced garlic until aromatic, about 10-15 seconds. Carefully add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two, or until the tomato paste is dissolved. Then arrange the the eggplant slices so they overlap each other, and spoon a bit a sauce on top. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan tightly, and let simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Shake the pan once in a while, so the eggplant doesn’t stick at the bottom. Remove lid and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

4. Serve hot with a side of bread or potatoes, or let cool to room temperature and serve on toasted bread rubbed with fresh garlic and olive oil.

MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS


Adapted from Where is my Spoon?

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Eggplant Stewed in Tomato Sauce For the Love of Italian Cooking

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12 thoughts on “ADINA’S STEWED EGGPLANT IN TOMATO SAUCE

  1. My family makes a similar dish (from Naples) with the eggplants cut into thin planks, fried in oil, then layered with tomato sauce, Parmesan and basil. It’s so good! This version looks really good too, with the thick, round slices. I love seeing the similarities among food from different countries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. very good. These days I would tend to oven-fry the aubergines, to cut on the oil. … but, more or less, I make the same thing and it is always a winner. There is a Provencal version called bohemien where the aubergines are stewed much, much longer and that too is delicious. I prefer most aubergine dishes the day after, I think the flavor deepens. Nice blog. ciao, stefano

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Stefano! Thank you for your comment! I don’t make eggplant too often (my family is not a big fan), but next time I will try making them in the oven. 🙂 I googled the French dish you mentioned and it sounds delicious. I found a couple of recipes and hope to try it soon. And yes, you are right. Aubergine dishes taste better the next day (but so do tomato sauces). 🙂

      Like

  3. This looks amazing! I absolutely love eggplant and I’ve already pinned to try. I am also heading over to see Adina’s blog. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I LOVE eggplant! And I remember commenting on Adina’s beautiful eggplant stewed! It might be a Romanian dish but it also so Italian :-). Love your pictures and your pairing with a nice bruschetta (you’re right, the real bruschetta is white, with olive oil and garlic rubbed on top!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Rosa, thank you for the nice words. 🙂 Your eggplants in tomato sauce look amazing, especially those slices in bruschetta. I will serve them that way the next time I make them.

    Liked by 1 person

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