I probably shouldn’t be calling this Sicilian Eggplant, since I’m not only not Sicilian, hell, I’m not even Italian. This may seem like it has non-Italian flavors, but we need to remember that the Moors “visited” Sicily for quite a number of years. Therefore, this has many of the flavors they left behind, after they moved on. You know, things like raisins, pistachios and cumin. It matters not what those flavors are, it’s still darned delicious. I cut the eggplant into large wedges like we did for the Roasted Eggplant Wedges with Soy-Balsamic Glaze. The second time I made this, I cubed the eggplant. I think I preferred the end result with the cubed eggplant. It also makes a difference if you’re using this for an appetizer or a side dish. But, no matter what you opt for—diced, chunks or wedges, it will still be wonderful. This is a very flexible recipe.
So, place the pieces of eggplants, however you’ve cut them, in a large skillet. I sprinkle on some salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. With my hands, because they are attached to my arms (and there’s no digging drawers for utensil), I toss the eggplant so it’s all nicely coated and the oil becomes evenly distributed. Add the mushrooms, raisins, currants, capers, if using (and you’ll want to use them) and sprinkle with the cumin. Toss on the onion wedges, pepper strips and garlic. Pull the tomatoes out of the can. Again, using your hands, very carefully squeeze the tomatoes over the veggies. Be careful when you do this, or you’ll have tomato juice all over you, the walls and anyone standing within 20 feet of you…the tomatoes like to spew and create a nasty mess! It’s a conspiracy, I think. Pour any juice remaining in the can over the whole skillet.
That’s all there is to it. Now pop the skillet into the oven for 15 minutes. I use a large spoon, and give the mixture a good stir, then back into the oven. I do this about every 10 minutes or so. Continue to roast until the eggplant wedges are just tender, the tomato mixture has thickened slightly and the raisins have plumped. Pull the skillet out of the oven; remember to use a pot holder! And I just leave the pot holder over the handle, lest The Goddess has a momentary lapse and decides to grab the handle.Now, add the red pepper flakes and fresh herbs; toss and let stand for 10 minutes, then toss again and serve. As you know, The Goddess has a penchant for room temperature food, and this is no exception. This is best made the day before serving to allow the flavors to meld. It also keeps unbelievable well, but you probably won’t have it around that long!
Roasted Sicilian Eggplant with Golden Raisins and Cumin
- 2 whole eggplants, unpeeled
- Olive oil (3-4 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces mushroom, quartered
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/4 cup capers (optional)
- 1 teaspoon (toasted) ground cumin
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (San Marzano is a good option)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh oregano or marjoram
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 6 or 8 wedges; cut the wedges in half lengthwise, then in half cross-wise. Plop all the wedges into a large oven-proof pan (I use a 14-inch skillet). Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to distribute the oil evenly. Hands work great for this. Add the onion wedges, pepper strips, garlic, mushrooms, raisins, currants, capers, if using and sprinkle with the cumin. Pull the tomatoes out of the can; using your hands, carefully squeeze the tomatoes over the veggies. Pour the juice over the whole skillet.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir to mix thoroughly; I use a large spoon for this. Continue to cook until the eggplant wedges are just tender and the tomato mixture has thickened slightly and the raisins plumped. Stir about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven; add the red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. Toss and let stand for 10 minutes; toss again and serve. I like this at room temperature. It is best if you make this the day before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
NOTE: These measurements are approximate. Change them to suit your taste.
Roasted Sicilian Eggplant with Golden Raisins and Cumin Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
Sadly, I have no pictures of this in a pretty serving dish. So, you’ll just have to use your imagination. I’m really slipping, aren’t I? I have to remember to take photos before I’m wiping the last bit of juice, with some good bread, off of my plate…it’s just a tad too late then!