Steamed Eggplant, Onions and Peppers

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 pounds)
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
2 small red onions
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup julienned fresh basil

Quarter eggplant lengthwise; cut in half horizontally. Remove seeds from bell peppers. Cut peppers lengthwise into 8 wide strips. Quarter onions.

Using food processor fitted with metal blade, turn on machine and drop garlic through feed tube to mince. Set garlic aside.

Using an extra-thick (8 millimeter) or thick (6 millimeter) slicing disc, stand eggplant and pepper pieces in feed tube; slice with light pressure. Stand onions in feed tube; slice with medium pressure.

Transfer eggplant, peppers and onions to a large steamer. Cover; cook (steam) over boiling water about 12 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Remove vegetables in steamer basket; set aside.

Discard water from bottom pan; add oil and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat about 4 minutes, or until garlic is soft, but not brown. Add steamed vegetables, vinegar, salt and pepper; stir gently. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in basil. Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop. Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Serve at room temperature, or reheat gently and serve hot. Adjust seasoning before serving.

Yield: 4 cups.

Note: If you don't have a food processor, slice or mince the vegetables by hand.

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