Algerian eggplant

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
  • salt
  • olive oil for frying
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 pinches of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, or more to taste

Remove three vertical strips of skin from each eggplant, leaving it striped, then cut eggplants into ½-inch slices. Salt the slices and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse well, squeeze gently, and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat about ¼ inch of oil in a skillet and fry the slices, a few at a time, over high heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain. Using the back of a fork, roughly mash the eggplant with the garlic and spices. Fry this mixture in the oil in skillet until all liquid evaporates, stirring often.  Don’t worry about the oiliness because when it’s done you drain the eggplant mixture in a colander. Stir lemon juice through and check for salt. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from Paula Wolfert, Mediterranean Cooking