Eggplant with Zucchini and Rice
As I have mentioned before Eggplant is a staple of Sicilian cooking. Some over there say that it even comes ahead of pasta.
During the Arab domination of Sicily (827-1060), agriculture was greatly developed and Rice was grow widely and it became a part of Sicilian cooking. It took over 300 years to move into the mainland and then expended throughout Europe.
When times were tough for many families the main meal of the day was rice cooked with no salt with a drizzle of olive oil to finish. This is a great low acid meal and was used when people were not well.
Adding golden fryed Eggplant to a simple boiled rice makes an easy dish to prepare and a wonderful meal by itself or as a salad to go with other mains.
250 gm boiled brown (long grain) rice. Cooked and then drained and cooled to room temperature
500 gm eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
3-4 smallish zucchini, halved down the centre, grilled, and then chopped into 10mm dices
1 tbsp capers, washed
¼ cup fresh mint
2 tbsp EV olive oil
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper to season
About 150-200gm of cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh basil chopped (optional) added to the zucchini when its being grilled
Salt and ground pepper to taste added to the zucchini when grilling as well as the Eggplant when its being fryed
Peel the eggplant and dice it into cubes then sprinkle with salt and let it stand for 30-45 min to let the bitterness drain away. Rinse in fresh water then pat the Eggplant cubes dry with paper towels.
You can cook the rice while the Eggplant is sitting and grill the zucchini.
Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the eggplant over a medium heat, cooking till the Eggplant is golden in colour.
In a bowl, combine the rice, fried eggplant, mint, olive oil, cheery tomatoes and the capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.