I have been wanting to make Pim's greek eggplant sauce for a while, but slender eggplants are a bit hard to come by in Paris supermarkets. So today when I saw the Franprix was carrying graffiti eggplants, which are in between the long thin asian ones and the big round western ones, I decided the time had come. It was also a happy coincidence that The Spice Cafe's monthly challenge involved making sauces with other bloggers' recipes. You can check out the details at Tangerine's Kitchen, the host blog, here.
The sauce turned out really amazing even though I made some major adjustments.
The first is that I added white beans to the sauce, because I have a little hang up about getting a good protein load (call it vegetarian paranoia). White beans are great with thyme and tomato so I figured it would work here - I added about three or four cups of cooked white beans, half kept whole and half pureed. The puree is a nice way to thicken the sauce quickly. I added the beans before I returned the eggplant rounds to the pan, to allow the beans to absorb more of the tomato flavour. I also used dried thyme instead of fresh thyme, which was a matter of necessity, and I'd love to try it with fresh thyme one day.
I think the trickiest part of the sauce is getting the eggplants right - I didn't use as much oil as Pim suggested because I forgot to check I had enough before I started, and wouldn't you know it, I'm actually running low on olive oil. So the eggplant tended to stick a bit (to be fair, Pim warns you about this.) But overall the recipe was pretty easy for me to execute even with my mind on my university assignment due the next day, and it tastes fantastic! The eggplant is really shown off in this dish - I don't think I've ever enjoyed the flavour of eggplant more, or appreciated how tender and almost sweet the flesh can be. I had this sauce on penne with some greek feta crumbled over the top.