Coming home after South of France day in the cafeteria, Nick had an idea for this eggplant dish. He had seen it on his neighbor’s tray and wished he had chosen it himself, because he thought it looked particularly tasty. He told me the basic ingredients: eggplant, olives, rosemary, and a bit of tomato sauce or paste. I said I’d do what I could.
After procuring the necessary ingredients at the market, I had a pretty good idea of what to do – keep it simple. Sauté some onion, garlic, and herbs, add eggplant (after a little salting and draining time).
Let it cook down until tender and significantly reduced in volume, thusly:
Add tomato purée, cook to meld flavors. Stir in olives and more fresh rosemary.
We ate it with hunks of baguette tradition from Veronique Mauclerc, but it would have been great over pasta, too. I’m getting better about writing down what I cook, so for those of you who don’t like to guess at amounts and so on, here’s the recipe.
Serves 2 for dinner
2 medium eggplants, large dice
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200 ml tomato purée
¾ cup olives, pitted and halved (we used some garlicky green olives, but any kind would be good)
- Toss the diced eggplant with a couple good pinches of sea salt. Place in a colander and let drain 20-30 minutes.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano or thyme, and red pepper. When onion begins to soften, add garlic and cook until the fragrance permeates the air.
- Add eggplant and half of the rosemary, stirring gently. Let it cook down to about half its original volume.
- Stir in the tomato purée until all is evenly coated. Cook for a few minutes to deepen the tomato flavor.
- Add the olives and the rest of the rosemary, stir and cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve over pasta or with some crusty bread on the side.