- 2 1/4 pounds (about 7) small eggplants
- Coarse kosher salt
- 1 small hot red pepper, seeded
- 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 head garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Vegetable or olive oil
Halve the eggplants lengthwise. Peel a strip of skin down the length of each half. Sprinkle 1/4 cup salt over the eggplant and allow to drain for 1 hour.
Purée the hot pepper, red peppers, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce has thickened into a paste, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brush the salt off the eggplant, then blot dry with a paper towel. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, fry the eggplant until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Press with the back of a spoon to make an indentation lengthwise down the center of each eggplant. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the pepper paste into each indentation.
Layer the eggplant in a serving dish and serve warm or at room temperature. Or, layer in a plastic container, cover the surface of the eggplant directly with plastic wrap then cover with a lid and refrigerate; flavor improves after 2 days.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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