Every now and then, a trip to the farmers' market ends up with an exotic new dish.
Part dip, part appetizer, this braised eggplant is perfect to eat with a warm naan or flatbread. It makes the most of summer's fresh produce by slow cooking everything then letting the flavors blend together.
If you want to attempt a more traditional version of this dish, try this one. I took the liberty of streamlining the process, using a one-pot cooking method for easier cleanup. This simple recipe is also vegan, so give it a try the next time you see some beautiful eggplants for sale. The veggie lovers in your life will thank you!
Turkish-Style Eggplant With Tomatoes Recipe:
Ingredients (serves 4 to 6):
- 2 lbs. of eggplant (1 large one or several smaller ones), washed and chopped into 1" pieces
- 4 T. olive oil
- 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 large hot pepper (I used a Korean longhorn pepper), washed and roughly chopped
- Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Start by prepping your fresh vegetables. Wash, trim and roughly chop your eggplant, tomatoes, and hot pepper. Everything will break down when cooking, so there's no need to obsess over the sizes listed above. Smash the two cloves of garlic and give them a rough chop as well.
In a heavy pan, Dutch oven, or an Instant Pot, warm up 2 T. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant, season with a dash of salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn. Add the rest of the olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic, hot pepper, and tomatoes then continue to cook for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so. Season to taste with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh naan or flatbread.
Refrigerate any leftovers. This would make a great addition to any charcuterie board or tapas spread, as it is so similar to baba ghanouj.
- If the ripe tomatoes at your local grocery store don't look great, go ahead and use a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
- The pepper can be whatever variety you find, but don't omit this ingredient. The dish needs that little kick of heat. In a pinch, dried red pepper flakes will work as well.
- Larger eggplants tend to have a thicker skin. You can pare off alternating stripes with a vegetable peeler or even peel it entirely. Smaller eggplants will have a thinner, more tender skin that breaks down a bit as you cook it.
- If you don't have naan or flatbread to eat this with, try serving it on plain white rice.
Sometimes, it's the simple preparations that make the best dishes. While this braised eggplant won't win any beauty pageants, it will have you craving its creamy, exotic flavor after the first taste.
**All photos by Sarina Petrocelly
Do you have a favorite recipe for fresh summer produce? How do you prepare eggplant? Share your ideas with us in the comments.