Sephardic Fried Eggplant with Vinegar Parsley Sauce

The following recipe comes from the Sephardic cuisine*, of which I mentioned here quite a few times. Its name in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) is “peshkado de tierra” i.e. “fish of the earth”, as the eggplants are cooked in the same manner as fried fish (as shown in THIS post). The dish was served as a vegetarian substitute when fresh fish was scarce, or as the main dish for Friday’s lunch, with the more elaborated Shabbat’s evening dinner in mind, which always included fish and meat dishes.
The sauce, called “vinagre” in Ladino, is simple and quick to assemble, and its main flavor comes from vinegar, hence the name. The sauce is also flavored with a bit of garlic cooked in olive oil, tomato paste, and a fairly large amount of fresh parsley, which beautifully balances the acidity of the sauce.
While the sauce is most often paired with fried eggplants, as shown here, it can also be served with fried fish, or cooked beef. Try any and enjoy.

Notes:
* For more information about Sephardic cuisine, check THIS POST.

Makes: 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Draining time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
For the eggplant:
1 medium eggplant
1 tsp salt
Oil for frying
For the batter:
1 L egg
2 Tbs water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup flour
For the sauce:
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
3 Tbs white wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 Tbs flour
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1. The eggplant: wash and peel the eggplant, cut in half, lengthwise, and slice into medium thickens. Sprinkle the salt on both sides, and place in a colander to drain, for 30 minutes. Pat-dry the slices with paper towels.

2. The batter: whisk the egg with the water, salt and pepper. Add the flour and whisk to a smooth batter. Dip the eggplant slices in it, and roll in the batter, to cover from all sides.

3. Preheat oil for shallow frying in a large pan, over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant slices and fry until golden-brown on both sides. Place on paper towels, to absorb excess oil, and keep in a warm place until serving.

4. The sauce: in a medium bowl, mix the tomato paste with salt and pepper, and gradually add the water and vinegar.
5. In a medium pan, mix the oil with the garlic. Fry over medium-high heat, just until the garlic turns white. Add the flour, and whisk to combine. Cook for 30 seconds, then, gradually and while mixing constantly to avoid lumps, add the water-vinegar mix. Bring to the boil; reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally with a spatula, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

6. Remove from the heat, and let cool a bit. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add most of the parsley, leaving a bit for serving, and mix well.

7. Place a few slices of fried eggplants on each serving plate, add the sauce and sprinkle parsley on top. Serve warm.

39 thoughts on “Sephardic Fried Eggplant with Vinegar Parsley Sauce

  1. Mary says:

    I can’t wait to be able to get some Eggplant. I can just imagine the lovely soft eggplant surrounded by the crisp coating after being dipped in that flavoured sauce. And then I ask myself why I have never thought to use eggplant this way before….
    Thankyou Ronit :))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. blainerestaurantreport says:

    I know sprinkling the salt on the eggplant and letting it sit for awhile is supposed to pull the bitterness out of it. Do you find it makes a big difference? I used to do it, but stopped because I didn’t see any significant difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ronit Penso Tasty Eats says:

      I actually think it makes a difference, besides taking bitterness out (which was more important years ago, by now eggplants are hardly ever bitter), in that the process makes the eggplant softer and more pliable. Also, when fried, it absorbs significantly less oil after this process. So it depends on the recipe and how you want to use it. And, as always, whatever works for you is always the best! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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