Italians call this a specific southern Italian dish. Of course, in other parts of the world, it is thought to be specific to other places, like in the Balkans. Wherever you have eggplants, you’re bound to have a variation of this food considered ‘traditional’. While it’s not that easy to prepare, you can keep it in the fridge (or in a den, in a sealed jar) for a long time. It also helps with your daily veggie portion, and it goes wonderfully with crackers, biscuits, or just bread.
You’ll need: 2 eggplants, 2 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), 4-5 roma tomatoes, 1 onion, 4-5 garlic cloves, 2 celery sticks, salt, pepper, oil. Optional: 1-2 carrots.
- You can choose to roast the eggplants and the bell pepper, or not. If you choose to do so, it will take less time to cook the stew. To roast, put in the oven (on a baking sheet or something similar) for 30-40 minutes (350F) or until the skin cracks. Take them out and peel them, then cut into pieces and set aside.
- If you do not roast – cut the eggplant and remove the skin. Cut the peppers.
- Peel the Roma tomatoes (sink in boiling water for 2-3 minutes) – or use the canned diced tomatoes.
- In a big pan, fry for 1-2 minutes the chopped onion and garlic. Add the peppers, the eggplants, the tomatoes and the celery. If you want extra taste, grate the carrots and add them – in the Italian version, you can also add green olives and capers. Add salt and pepper.
- Let boil for some 30-40 minutes (more if you didn’t roast the eggplants) or until all the veggies are fully cooked and can be easily mashed. I like to mash everything, so that all the veggies blend into each other, then eat it with crackers or with mustard and paprika bites.