For the past two weeks I had completely neglected my poor blog. This was because I had to go on a whirlwind trip to India – for just one week!!! Usually the travel to and back from India is enough to knock me out and this time even more so because I made both the trips in such quick succession. But since there was a death in the family, I had to go and I am so glad that I went. I came back just three days ago and was heart-broken to see that my poor site had hardly seen any visitors during this time. I guess a blog is quite like having a child – it needs constant attention! Anyway, I am back to the regular life and trying to play catch-up. Although I am still struggling with jet-lag (was up at 2:00AM!), I am trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Yesterday, I went to the local farmer’s market to stock up on fresh vegetables for the week and was delighted to find some Fairy-tail Eggplants. And since I love eggplant, I promptly bought a quart of these tasty little delights.
Today I set about making a tapenade from the eggplant and some large Green and Kalamata Olives. Just a few eggplants made quite a bit of tapenade and I am thinking of putting some in jars to take to my daughter in college when I visit later this month. I used some of it on freshly made linguine (for lunch) and combined it with some stir fried baby zucchini – it was absolutely out-of-this world! It was such a simple dish and yet so delicious!
1. 1 lb of eggplant (any kind will do but one that is firm to the touch)
2. 15-20 large Green Olives (pitted)
3. 10-12 Kalamata Olives (pitted)
4. One medium red onion
5. 5-6 cloves of garlic
6. 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
7. 3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes (preserved in olive oil)
8. 2 tablespoons of capers
9. 1 tablespoon of canned Tomato paste
10. ½ teaspoon of salt
11. 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12. 1/3 teaspoon of red chili flakes
13. 1.5 teaspoon of garlic powder
14. 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
15. 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
16. 10-12 leaves of fresh basil leaves
5. Chop the eggplant in small pieces and add to the pot and cook on low heat. The eggplant may absorb a lot of the oil, so you may need to add a little bit more oil. Continue to cook the eggplant on low heat and occasionally stir it. You could cover the pot with a lid and let the veggies cook on low heat.
6. When the eggplant looks like it is getting cooked and softened (usually takes 10-12 minutes – but the time may vary with the kind of eggplant you use and what size you dice the pieces) add the salt, pepper and red chili flakes and stir.
7. Add the sundried tomatoes and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
16. You can serve this tapenade on a crispy sliced and toasted baguette (like a bruschetta) or as a sauce for pasta or serve it with cheese and crackers. It is a versatile tapenade which also works as a spread in a sandwich. I love it as a spread on a salami sandwich!