When I was young and my mom fried breaded zucchini and eggplant, I refused to eat the eggplant – it smelled like feet! Last summer, their gorgeous deep purple skin tempted me and I began cooking with them. I learned that eggplant tastes amazing with tomatoes, and with curry.
These days when I desperately need lunch at work I’ve even bought Szechuan eggplant or wraps with eggplant, sun dried tomatoes and feta. Is there a vegetable that you refused to eat as a child but grew up to absolutely love?
I’m sure the eggplant flavour could hold it’s own with the tomatoes but to make this vegetarian dish more hearty, I decided to add some chickpeas. This way you can enjoy your tasty eggplant as either a main or a side. The cooking liquids released tasted so good that I made sure to have some Naan on hand for the leftovers. I wanted to sop up every last drop!
Cook: 6 hours (low) or 3 hours (high)
Yield: 6 servings as a main dish (prepared in a 6.5 quart slow cooker)
Dissolve 1 tbsp of salt in cold water and soak the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) overnight. In the morning drain and rinse them. (Alternatively, you can boil the beans for 10 minutes.) Pour the beans into your slow cooker insert.
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Toss the cubed eggplant with the remaining 1 tsp of salt and brown the eggplant in batches, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to slow cooker.
Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir for about 1 minute, add the tomatoes and basil then let them simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the mixture to your slow cooker and stir.
Cook on low for 6 hours (or on high for 3 hours).
Plate and top with Romano cheese to taste.