We had a desire to use up some surplus fresh tomatoes and a large eggplant and hence we turned to this recipe from Martha Rose Schulman in NYTimes Cooking. It’s filling and versatile (serve it over pasta, with sausages or just on its own). The sweet and sour taste runs deep and it can be served hot from the pan or let it sit overnight to really infuse the flavors throughout. There’s a fair amount of cooking stages to this, so plan ahead and then keep it around.
For this you’ll need: 1 large eggplant (cut into 1/2″ strips lengthwise), 1 red bell pepper (cored and cut into 1/2″ squares), 1 onion (chopped), 3 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped), 1 lb ripe tomatoes (stem core removed and halved), 1 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half) 3 Tbs capers, 3 Tbs olives, 2 Tbs sugar (plus an extra pinch), 3 Tbs red wine vinegar, olive oil, dried basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 275. Place the halved/cored (non-cherry) tomatoes plus the 1/2″ slices of eggplant into a large bowl. Pour a few good glugs of olive oil over the top, add a good Tbsp of dried basil and some salt and pepper and then, using your hands, toss everything together so it’s all coated with oil and seasoning. Lightly grease a roasting try and place the tomatoes cut side down and the eggplant slices onto it. Place in the oven and cook until the tomato skins are peeling and the eggplant slices are softening – about 45 mins to an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little bit. Once everything is cool enough to handle, peel off the the tomato skins and slice the eggplant into 1-2″ cubes.
In a large skillet heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and stir well. Cook until the onion starts to soften – about 5 mins. Add the garlic and stir everything together until fragrant – about 1 min – then add the chopped red pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Cook until the red peppers are just tender – about 8 mins.
Add the roasted eggplant and another 1 Tbsp olive oil and stir everything together – the eggplant will start to break down – and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and as much as of their juices as you can along with another good grinding of salt and a pinch of sugar. Then add the halved cherry tomatoes as well. Cook until it all starts breaking down – about 5-10 mins. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar and the vinegar and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 mins more.
If you can let the whole thing sit for a few hours or even overnight, that’s great, but if you want to serve it hot and fresh, that works too.