Roasted Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

2 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
salt
cayenne pepper
coarsely chopped cilantro
lemon wedges

1. Preheat the broiler. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Arrange the eggplant and tomato halves, cut sides down, on the baking sheet. Roast in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tomato skins shrivel and crack. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate as they are done. Continue cooking the eggplant for about 15 minutes longer, or until the flesh softens and the skins char; don't overcook, or the flesh will dry out. Let the vegetables cool slightly.

2. Peel the tomatoes and puree them in a blender or food processor. Remove the eggplant flesh from the skin with a fork; discard the skin, and coarsely chop the flesh.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large nonreactive skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and turmeric to lightly coat the onion. Add the tomato puree, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in a little water if the sauce is too thick. Add the eggplant, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of cayenne. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and cayenne, garnish with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges.

 The eggplant can be refrigerated for 1 day. Rewarm before serving.



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