This one takes a bit of patience, but, if you have the time, it is well worth it. It has a great middle eastern flavor and goes best with warmed pita and hummus (we have a simple recipe here that will allow you to make it fresh) as a starter or as a meal itself.
For a large bowl that can serve many as a starter or up to 4 people as a meal you’ll need: x1 large red onion (roughly chopped), x2 medium eggplants (cut into 1″ cubes), 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds, x1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 crushed/chopped garlic clove, 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp olive oil, x2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint and a good grinding of salt.
In a dry, non-stock skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the coriander and cumin seeds – 1-2 mins. Remove from heat and use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the seeds.
Add 3 Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet, return to medium heat and add the chopped red onion and chopped garlic. Stir well until they are just starting to turn translucent – 3-5 minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes – stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium high heat (get it to 180 degrees). In batches, fry the chopped eggplant until golden – about 5-8 minutes – turning/stirring well so each side is covered. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Get the oil back up to temperature before adding the next batch and repeat. Add additional oil, if needed, between batches.
Add the fried eggplant and chopped fresh mint to the tomato/onion mixture and stir well to combine. Add salt. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to stand for an hour or up to three hours in order to fully infuse.
Serve with warm pita and hummus.