I love eggplant–any which way, shape, or form–and this recipe is one of my favorite ways of making it. Caveat: in addition to liking eggplant, you must really like garlic, too, and you must eat this with other garlic lovers, because this is not a subtle dish–it is very ‘aromatic.’ Nonetheless, it is a beloved dish at our house–my daughter ate almost half of this platter of eggplant by herself!
I have always pan-fried it, pouring liberal amounts of olive oil into the pan as needed–but you could also try grilling whole eggplant slices then drizzling with the vinaigrette. The eggplant is great on its own, but is lovely when combined with other things. For our Mediterranean antipasti/tapas/mezze meal this past weekend, we created mini open-faced sandwiches by slathering pieces of crusty baguette with Turkish Feta Dip with Paprika, then topping with the eggplant and some Roasted and Marinated Bell Peppers. The eggplant is great with pita and hummus, too.
Eggplant with Garlic Vinaigrette
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
sprinkle chili flakes/crushed red pepper
1. Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, sprinkle with salt, and set in colander in sink to drain for about 30 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Rinse eggplant with cold water and pat dry between two dish towels, then cut the slices into quarters. Sprinkle with pepper.
4. Heat a cast-iron frying pan on medium-to-high heat, add a liberal amount of olive oil, then add eggplant quarters in batches (a single layer at a time). Cook until eggplant is dark golden brown on all sides, turning eggplant over with tongs to ensure even cooking, and adding more olive oil as necessary.
5. When each batch is done, arrange on serving plate and use a small spoon to drizzle a tiny bit of the vinaigrette onto each piece of eggplant while the eggplant is still hot (try to get a bit of garlic on each piece). Continue cooking all eggplant in batches, drizzling each batch with the garlic vinaigrette. The eggplant will soak up the vinaigrette.
6. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Joanne Weir’s From Tapas to Meze.