Melanzane in potacchio

Melanzane in potacchioI’m still on my eggplant kick, so here’s a crazy-simple recipe especially for those first-time eggplant cookers. This recipe and the whole style of “in potacchio” originates from Marche, the region where my grandfather Giuseppe was born and raised (until at age 22 he came to America, in 1911).

“In potacchio” is a method of frying-then-stewing (also called braising), using rosemary, olive oil, garlic and dry white wine. This recipe adds tomatoes at the end. You can use this same approach with chicken, lamb and many vegetables. I think I’ll be playing with this method all summer.

As with other eggplant recipes, it’s best to use smaller Italian eggplants (Japanese eggplants are too small) to minimize the amount of seeds.

Enjoy! This dish makes a nice appetizer or side dish for 4 people.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 2-3 small Italian eggplant
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
  1. Trim and remove the eggplant ends and slice into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt, layering as you go. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the salt to pull the water and bitterness out of the eggplant.
  2. Dry the eggplant with paper towels and cut the rounds into long strips, as wide as they are thick.
  3. In a wide sauté pan equipped with a lid, add the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary to the oil and cover with the lid. Shaking occasionally, allow the olive oil to be flavored by the garlic and rosemary.
  4. Add the eggplant strips to the pan, cover and let sauté for 10 minutes or until soft. Shake the pan every few minutes to move the eggplant around.
  5. Uncover and add the white wine and let mostly evaporate. Add the tomato, recover and cook for 5 or 10 minutes more until the tomato is soft and mixed in the eggplant.
  6. Remove the rosemary branches and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve either hot or at room temperature.

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