Minna’s Favorite Recipes…Spicy Eggplant
This is a very tasty antipasti, from The Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone. According to Ms. Scicolone, she discovered this recipe in a restaurant in Rome that served no hot food, “only an assortment of wonderful cheeses, cold meats, excellent wines with thick slices of rough country bread, and a few cold, cooked vegetable dishes, including these spicy eggplant slices”. The eggplant slices are baked, rather than fried, for this recipe, which uses less oil and is lighter tasting. This recipe is easily doubled, or more, for a crowd.
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups tomato puree
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup torn fresh basil leaves
1. Trim the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. Layer the slices
in a colander set over a bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt. Let drain for about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 450F. Brush two large jelly-roll pans with oil. Rinse off the salt from the eggplant slices and pat them dry. Arrange the slices in a single layer in the pans. Brush with oil. Bake for 10 minutes, turn, and bake for 10 minutes more, or until lightly browned and tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook the garlic in ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomato puree and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until thick.
4. In a shallow dish, arrange half the eggplant slices in a single layer. Spread with half the sauce and sprinkle with half the basil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature.