Sunday, October 20, 2013

Susan Feniger's Street Food's Romanian Sweet and Sour Eggplant

(4-6 servings)

For the past few months I have been posting a recipe or two every week at Carole's Chatter. She hosts "Food on Friday", and this week the theme was "Eggplant". One of the recipes that caught my eye was, Romanian Sweet and Sour Eggplant.

I couldn't wait to give it a try and I wasn't disappointed! This flavorful dish might not appeal to the faint of heart. It's quite robust; the garlic very prominent in the tangy and slightly hot, sweet and sour sauce.

As is often the case, I made a few changes here and there. I measured out the salt beforehand and sprinkled it over the slices. When all of them were evenly covered, I still had about a tablespoon left over. I didn't bother to add another 1/2 teaspoonful to the "pesto", thinking if this dish needed any more salt, I could add that at the very end. It didn't need any. I also reduced the amount of oil. A friend used to say you could have too much of a good thing sometimes, and that definitely is the case here. Olive oil might be a "good" oil, yet it still contains a lot of calories. I used a large non-stick skillet, to which I added tiny amounts of oil from time to time as needed; never more than one quarter of a teaspoonful each time. This dish was fine without the extra oil when it was finished. I didn't have any brown sugar in the house, so I used sucanat and honey instead.

I also left out the parsley because the recipe posted at Farmersgirl Kitchen accidentally omitted that from the ingredient list. By the time I realized that, it was too late. Oh, and I happened to have some olives on hand, which I tossed in as an afterthought. You can always follow another link for this recipe which does contain the parsley and appears to be the original one from the book, Susan Feniger's Street Food.

Adapted from the recipe posted at Farmersgirl Kitchen
2 large eggplants, about 2 lb
2-3 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8-10 cloves of garlic, about 1 small head
2 bunches of green onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
(1/2 bunch parsley; this is missing from the recipe at Farmersgirl Kitchen, but the original recipe includes it)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil for frying
1 14oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
10 pitted green olives, sliced (optional)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup  sucanat or brown sugar
1 tbsp honey

Cut off and discard the ends from each eggplant. Cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay the slices out on a platter, and sprinkle both sides with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes so that the salt will draw out some of the water from the eggplant. Then pat the eggplant dry with a dish towel.

Put the olive oil, garlic, green onions, (parsley) and cayenne in a food processor, and puree until a smooth paste forms (it will resemble pesto). Spread liberally all over both sides of the eggplant slices.

In a large non- stick skillet set over a medium flame, heat a tiny amount of olive oil. Add enough eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the pan, and cook until they are browned on both sides and cooked through; 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a platter or plate. Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant slices, adding  small amounts of oil as needed for each batch. Cut the cooked eggplant into 1-inch-wide strips.

In a pot (large enough to hold everything) set over a medium flame, combine the tomatoes, olives (if using), vinegar, sucanat and honey. Cook for 12 minutes. Add the eggplant strips and stir together. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been cooked off. 

Remove from the heat and serve, or chill. This dish may be served warm or cold.


Anonymous said...

Great flavors - I LOVE this type of food - as you say very robust - delicious
mary x

Unknown said...

I am Middle Eastern and always ready for new flavors and foods with a nice taste. I would have to say this recipe is amazing . TRUE GENIUS . My family loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe it was really good. :)

Gerlinde in Washington said...

Ayat, I'm pleased you enjoyed the recipe!

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