Did you know that Sicilians consider eggplants as the “meat of the earth”? What’s more, eggplants are one of the most versatile vegetables there is – you can fry it, grill it, boil it, and more.
Versatile Sicilian Baked Eggplant
4 Large ripe tomatoes
2 Celery stalks, trimmed
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Large eggplant, trimmed
2 teaspoon Caster sugar
1 teaspoon Sunflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Tomato puree
1 tablespoon White wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Freshly chopped basil, to garnish
1 oz Black pitted olives
1 oz Green pitted olives
Mixed salad leaves, to serve
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cut the eggplant into small cubes and place on an oiled baking tray.
Cover the tray with tinfoil and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until soft. Reserve, to allow the eggplant to cool.
Place the celery and tomatoes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.
Remove the tomatoes from the bowl when their skins begin to peel away. Remove the skins then deseed and chop the flesh into small pieces.
Remove the celery from the bowl of water, finely chop and reserve.
Pour the vegetable oil into a non-stick saucepan, add the chopped shallots and fry gently for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the celery, tomatoes, tomato puree and olives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and cooled eggplant to the pan and heat gently for 2-3 minutes until all the ingredients are well blended. Reserve to allow the eggplant mixture to cool. When cool, garnish with the chopped basil and serve cold with salad leaves.
* Serves 4.
Before serving, it’s also great to garnish this dish with grated mozzarella cheese aside from basil.