If you have any questions about what to do with late summer eggplant, I have the answer. Make this fragrant, delicious spread and enjoy it with some flatbread. This was in the Paula Wolfert article in the May issue of Food and Wine. Then, I saw these double tomato flatbreads on Yeastspotting a few weeks ago, and the two seemed to belong together. The eggplant is cooked whole on top of the stove, and then the meltingly tender flesh is combined with garlic, olive oil, canned, diced tomato, fresh herbs, and spices. This is a mixture that I knew would be a good one, and it smelled fantastic as it cooked, but the flavor was even better than I anticipated once I tasted it. I imagined there would be leftovers for lunch the next day, but the entire bowl was emptied quickly. I’m hoping to get a couple of eggplants at the farmers’ market this week so I can make it again but as a double batch this time.
I used a dutch oven which was heated on top of the stove, and the big, one and a quarter pound eggplant was pierced and placed in it. It was covered and left to cook in the dry pan over low heat for 40 minutes. The eggplant was turned after 20 minutes. Then, it was placed in a colander in the sink and cut down one side so it could drain. Once cool, the flesh was scraped into a large skillet, and minced garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, paprika, cumin, and cayenne were added. This was cooked until the liquid evaporated, and then lemon juice was squeezed into the mixture.
Making the flatbreads couldn’t have been easier. I wasn’t able to find the suggested tomato powder for the dough, so I used tomato paste. That was combined with flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and paprika in a food processor. Water and vinegar were added while the processor was running. Sun-dried tomatoes were added and pulsed to combine, and then the dough sat in the food processor for about 30 minutes. The dough was divided, rolled into rounds, and quickly cooked in a hot cast iron skillet until it bubbled and was browned. We did have a few pieces of bread left over because this made eight pieces, and they freeze and re-heat nicely.
Any flatbread would work fine here, and if I don’t have time to make homemade flatbread next time I’ll probably buy pita to go with it, but this tomato bread with bits of chewy sun-dried tomato was a very good match. The cumin, cayenne, and paprika in the eggplant added depth of flavor, and the herbs and lemon perked it up well. I could have made a meal of just the eggplant and flatbread, and with a few olives on the side and a glass of wine, it’s a great way to enjoy summer coming to an end.