I saw some cute little purple eggplants at the farmers market, and bought them impulsively. Thinking about what to do with them, I remembered a dish that I hadn’t eaten in almost 20 years. When I was a child living in Western Massachusetts, an Israeli family moved in down the street from us. The mother of the family used to make unctuous, tangy marinated eggplant that I’ve tried to recreate with this recipe. The result is a rustic and powerfully flavored dish. (A version of this recipe originally appeared on my blog: http://consumed-i-this.tumblr.com/post/167473883/taste-memory-salad-eggplant-red-wine-vinegar) —Michael Hoffman
4 as a side dish
large eggplant (or ~1.5 lbs small eggplants)
cloves garlic, sliced
jalapeño pepper, sliced
red wine vinegar
fresh parsley, chopped
Olive and/or vegetable oil, for frying
In This Recipe
Slice eggplant(s) into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Season the slices with salt. Heat 1/4 inch of oil—I recommend half olive and half vegetable—in a large skillet. Once it’s hot, carefully add eggplant slices in one layer. Working in batches, fry the eggplant until very soft and well-browned. Remove cooked eggplant to a sheet pan, and season generously with more salt. (Don’t worry about blotting excess oil; it will become part of the dressing!) You'll probably want to try a piece of eggplant now as freshly fried eggplant is pretty much unbeatable.
Meanwhile, sweat the garlic and jalapeño in a bit of oil in a small sauce pan. Add a generous grinding of black pepper and red wine vinegar. Simmer gently for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Pour the vinegar sauce, with chunks, over the eggplant while both are still warm. Season with more salt if necessary. Allow to cool slightly, then sprinkle with parsley. Transfer everything to a bowl or platter and allow to sit and marinade for at least half an hour (or up to several days, in the fridge) before serving at room temperature.