Sorry I've been so delinquent about posting lately. Also sorry not to be able to provide a tantalizing photo. Both my computer and my camera are acting up at the moment. But lest you give up on me altogether, here is a nice thing to do with an eggplant and some chickpeas. It's pretty simple, though the two-step cooking process does take a bit of time and dirties an extra dish. It's worth it, though, to ensure that everything is very thoroughly cooked without being a complete grease bomb. Undercooked eggplant is vile. (Surely you agree!)
This is good hot, cold, or at room temperature.
CHICKPEAS WITH ROASTED EGGPLANT AND TOMATOES
About a pound of eggplant
1 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or an equivalent quantity that you have lovingly prepared yourself
1 very large or 2 medium yellow onions, sliced into thin quarter-rounds
4 cloves garlic, minced
Plenty of olive oil
1 t whole cumin
2 t ground cumin
1/8 t. or a fat pinch of ground cayenne
2 cups of diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (I like to use the Pomi tomatoes in the aseptic box packaging, from Parmalat)
Salt and pepper
Splash of mild vinegar, such as sherry vinegar
A good handful of chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the eggplant into bite-sized cubes and toss with a glug or two of olive oil. Season with salt and spread out on a roasting pan. Bake until soft -- a prodding finger should leave a dent. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the eggplant is baking, you can start the onions. In a fairly large, non-reactive pan with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and about a quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook gently until thoroughly limp and beginning to turn gold. Err on the side of cooking more slowly and gently, rather than less.
When the onions and eggplant are both ready, add the minced garlic and whole cumin seeds to the pan and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring continually, for a minute, then add the eggplant. Saute for a moment. Now add the tomatoes, ground cumin, cayenne, and several grinds of pepper and stir. Bring this to a brisk simmer, adding a splash of water if things seem too dry. Finally, add the chickpeas and half the parsley. Cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for about ten minutes, until everything is well coated and sludgy. To finish, add the splash of vinegar and the rest of the parsley, and taste for salt.