Monday, March 15, 2010

Melanzane al funghetto

This is an eggplant dish from the town of Bari, in Southern Italy. I was introduced to it when a friend of mine from Bari brought it to a dinner party, and in fact it's a great dish to bring to a party because it's extremely easy to make, and it is best if you let it sit for several hours before serving it, so you can prepare it in advance - even a day before you plan to eat it. And of course, it tastes wonderful!

1 large eggplant
2 or 3 ripe tomatoes
Large green olives
A clove of garlic
Fresh basil
Fresh parsley
Olive oil

Wash the eggplant, and peel the skin in strips so that some is left on. Cut the eggplant into disks a few centimeters thick, and then cut those discs into squares. Crush the garlic and then chop it up. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and then add the garlic. After 15-20 seconds, add the eggplant, stirring quite often. If necessary, add a bit more olive oil, but don't add too much or else the eggplant will get too soft.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into cubes, then add them to the eggplants (which should have cooked on their own for about 5 minutes). Then wash the olives and capers and add them in as well. Wash the basil and parsley and chop them finely. Add the basil, parsley, and oregano, and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, turn the heat down to low, and let everything cook another 15 or 20 minutes, stirring every so often, until the eggplants are soft but not mushy.

Let cool, and serve at room temperature, or else refrigerate and serve after several hours.

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