Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that happily lends itself to almost any cooking method, but roasting or grilling seems to bring out the best in it. This Catalan recipe usually involves barbecuing, but even oven-roasting gives the eggplant a delicious smoky flavor. Escalivada makes an ideal accompaniment for roast or grilled meats.
- 2 yellow or red onions, unpeeled
- 1 cup (250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
- 3 eggplant
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
1. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Put the onions in a small baking pan and rub them with olive oil. Roast until tender when pierced, at least 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then peel and slice 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick.
3. At the same time, prick the eggplant in several places with a fork and place them in their own baking pan. Add the tomatoes and place in the oven alongside the onions. Roast the tomatoes until their skins blacken, about 15 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into cubes. Continue to roast the eggplant until soft but not mushy, about 45 minutes more. Let cool, then peel and tear into large strips. Place in a colander to drain.
4. Position a rack 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) below the heat source and preheat a broiler.
5. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Place, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Broil until the skins blacken and blister, about 10 minutes. Remove from the broiler, drape with aluminum foil, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away the skins. Cut the peppers into long, narrow strips.
6. Combine the onions, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the eggplant mixture and toss to coat well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming, and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.