Sautéed Eggplant with Fresh Tomato Topping

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1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), unpeeled
salt and freshly ground pepper
about 7 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian
2 ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced

Cut eggplant into 3/8-inch slices crosswise, discarding ends. Salt eggplant.*

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Quickly add enough eggplant slices to make 1 layer; if slices are added too slowly, the first ones soak up all the oil. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes per side or until tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spatula.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan, heat oil, and sauté second batch of eggplant in same way. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons oil and remaining eggplant.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté ½ minute. Add parsley and toss over heat a few seconds. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato mixture over center of each eggplant slice. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings.

Salting Eggplant: For some recipes for sautéed or grilled eggplant slices, the eggplant is first sprinkled with salt so its juices leach out. This technique eases the eggplant’s bitterness but is not necessary if you have a fresh eggplant. Salting also can reduce the amount of oil absorbed by the eggplant during cooking.

From Faye Levy's International Vegetable Cookbook

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