Joël Robuchon ingeniously softens spongy eggplant by steaming it instead of sautéing it in oil. "Usually, cooked eggplant absorbs so much oil and becomes full of fat," he says.
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely grated on a box grater
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup tomato sauce, such as marinara or canned tomato puree
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
How to Make It
Set the diced eggplant in a steamer basket. Set the basket over 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and steam the eggplant until tender, 12 minutes; drain well.
In a large skillet, combine the tomatoes with the garlic, cumin and paprika and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and the eggplant and simmer, gently stirring a few times, until the eggplant is flavored with the sauce, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper; add the lemon zest, cilantro and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.