Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin

So I was traveling over the long Labor Day weekend. And I was so exhausted when I got home yesterday that when I cooked dinner, I forgot to take a picture. Unforgivable, I know.

But this dish is so good that I have to post the recipe, even if it has no images to accompany it. It's an older Food & Wine recipe that's a favorite in our apartment. Despite the name the magazine editors gave it, it should really be called Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Smoked Paprika, because that smoked paprika is what gives it the most amazing flavor. Don't even think about substituting regular paprika, because it won't be nearly as special.

The magazine refers to the dish as a salad, but I eat it as a meal with some brown rice or couscous. And you should, too.

Pot-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Cumin
  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup drained, canned diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large enameled cast-iron casserole (or any other large pot with a lid). Using a fork, prick the eggplant in a few places. Add the eggplant to the casserole, cover and cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until charred on the outside and soft within, about 40 minutes.

Transfer the eggplant to a colander set in the sink. Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise slit in the eggplant; let drain for 10 minutes. Scrape the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin and any hard seeds; mash to a puree and transfer to a large skillet. (I just put it back into the pot I used for roasting.)

Using the side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a coarse paste with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the paste to the skillet along with the tomatoes, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.