An incredible Greek side dish of fried eggplant which is then baked in a rich tomato sauce
We know that eggplant is a divisive fruit (yes, eggplant is botanically a fruit!) and that there are camps of people who love them, and others who hate them. We happen to be lovers of the aubergine and are thrilled when our gardens start to offer this versatile, hearty and delicious purple gift.
We have already posted several eggplant recipes, and here we are finally sharing what may be one of our favourites. In this classic Greek dish, which can be served as a side or just as easily as a meze or light lunch, eggplants are fried and then baked in a rich tomato sauce. This is a dish best served with a nice loaf of fresh bread for dipping; the sauce is to die for! You can even layer the eggplant and sauce between two slices of bread and make yourself an eggplant and tomato sauce sandwich. Sound strange? Have we ever steered you wrong before?
The simplicity of this dish is part of what makes it so wonderful. This is the type of recipe that our parents make regularly; one which uses few ingredients, makes the most of their garden bounty, and of the tomatoes that they can and preserve to be used year round.
Although the eggplant is first fried, making this perhaps a less than ideal diet food, the ingredients themselves are wholesome. As usual, no preservatives and no obscure items, just honest, humble and hearty fare.
Do I have to fry the eggplant before baking it?
If you are tempted not to fry the eggplant before baking this dish, in order to save on calories and fat, we strongly urge you not to; the flavour and texture just won’t be the same. In some of our recipes, like our moussaka, we don’t fry the eggplant, and that works out beautifully. But here, the frying adds another layer of flavour that you don’t want to miss out on.
If you are trying to avoid fried foods altogether, then be sure to check out our Recipe List where you’ll find all sorts of non-fried recipes. Or if your diet does allow for some fried food, go ahead and give this recipe a try. Maybe just have a smaller portion, and don’t make it every week (Note: you may find both of those limitations quite difficult, so we apologize in advance.)
Can I use any variety of eggplant for this dish?
We tend to use small to medium sized Globe eggplants or Italian eggplants in this dish; the latter look very much like the standard purple Globe eggplant you will probably find in the grocery store, but are smaller. Other eggplant varieties would probably work as well so feel free to experiment.
Where can I find the recipe for the tomato sauce options in the recipe?
You can either use our parents’ Chunky tomato sauce for this recipe (our first choice – and you can find the recipe here) or a homemade marinara sauce, and you can find our recipe here. Otherwise, you can use a good quality canned or jarred marinara sauce.
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Have we convinced you that eggplants are great? Check out these other recipes starring your new favourite
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