When this recipe first came to our attention, in the 1970s, the instructions called for cooking the mixture for two hours in a covered pan over very low heat. Over the course of time, the hybridization of eggplants and the introduction of hotter stove burners have necessitated some changes. The recipe is presented here in its original form, with recommendations for modern cooking methods. The recipe has been tested for the gluten free community by Gf-Zing!
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped in 1/4″ cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can gluten free stewed tomatoes (14 ounce size)
2 Tablespoons gluten free tomato paste (optional)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
the juice of a half or a whole lemon
Fry the eggplant in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan (12″) until soft, about ten minutes. Mash with a potato masher, then add the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon juice. Do not add the lemon juice yet.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cook for 2 hours, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. A heavy pan is necessary. When it is just starting to stick to the bottom of the pan, it is done cooking. Add the juice of 1/2-1 lemon, to taste. It should be somewhat tart.
This mixture is typically spread on “black bread” or Westphalian pumpernickel. For the gluten free community, try to find “Genuine Bavarian Gluten-Free Toast Bread” which is distributed by R & R Export-Import Specialties, PO Box 7667, Nashua NH 03060. (800)-818-7729.
Notes for modern cooks: If you have a stove that has hot burners, you can stir-fry the mixture for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly, until it starts to stick to the pan. The flavor will not be quite as intense as the old-fashioned low-heat method achieves, but it will be perfectly acceptable. If the eggplant seems to become soft and mushy quickly during the initial frying, this should be a clue that you need to cook the mixture for less time than two hours. Thirty years ago, the eggplant cubes could stand up to quite a bit of cooking and maintain their structural integrity but somehow the modern hybrids seem to disintegrate quickly.