Skordostoumbi - Zakynthos Garlicky Eggplant
This Greek recipe for garlicky baked eggplant is a traditional dish of the Ionian islands and a perfect example of great Mediterranean Diet vegetable cookery. The characteristic sweet-sour flavor imparted by the use of vinegar in the sauce is a local favorite. It’s a wonderful plant-based Greek recipe, one of the most delicious in the whole range of Greek vegetarian dishes.
- 2 large or 3 medium eggplant about 2 pounds total, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- Salt to taste eggplant
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil as needed
- 8 to 10 garlic cloves to taste, peeled and crushed
- 4 to 5 large tomatoes
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ to ⅔ cup chopped fresh herbs of choice (parsley, oregano, mint, marjoram)
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- 4 - 5 tablespoons crumbled feta or grated ladotyri (optional)
Salt the eggplant slices lightly inside a mixing bowl. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brown the eggplant slices on both sides, in batches, replenishing the olive oil if necessary. Drain on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350F/170C.
In the same frying pan, add the garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, just to soften. Add the tomato, cook it down a bit over medium heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the honey and vinegar. Simmer gently until thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Place a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom of a medium sized baking dish and drizzle in a little olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on top, sprinkling with herbs and a little cheese, if desired. Spread a little sauce over the eggplant and continue layering in the same manner until everything is used up. Press down with a spatula and sprinkle a little vinegar on top. Bake for about 45 minutes, remove, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve, with creamy polenta or feta, or both.