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A Ukrainian cook’s summer eggplant, tomatoes, and feta is a gem – Tricks and Tips

Recipe: A Ukrainian cook’s summer eggplant, tomatoes, and feta is a gem

Serves 6

Ukrainian-born London chef Olia Hercules, author of the new book, “Home Food: 100 Recipes to Comfort & Connect,” mobilized her social media followers (now 147,000 on Instagram), along with her Russian-born friend Alissa Timoshkina, with the hashtag #CookForUkraine, which has raised about $1.8 million for Unicef and Choose Love Ukraine. Hercules’s brother, Sasha, who is on the front, is responsible for food logistics for his fellow soldiers. In the cookbook, she explains, her brother likes to make this eggplant salad with an unusual technique. He dry-fries eggplant pieces in a nonstick skillet until they soften. If you peel strips off the eggplant skin, she explains, the pieces soften faster. When they’re done, they’re charred in spots. Olive oil and toasted sesame oil go into the salad, along with ripe tomatoes, onions soaked in lemon juice, fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, or a combination), and crumbled feta. Hercules says her brother calls it “Armenian salad.” It’s a gem, with qualities of both French ratatouille and Sicilian caponata.

2 large eggplants (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large ripe tomatoes, cored
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons herbs, such as cilantro, dill, basil (or a combination)
6 ounces feta, crumbled

1. Trim the eggplants and peel off lengthwise strips, leaving skin attached, so they look striped. Cut the flesh into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes; no need to be precise.

2. In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, without oil, dry fry half the eggplant pieces, moving them often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they soften and brown in spots. Transfer to a large bowl. Cook the remaining eggplant in the same way.

3. Return all the eggplant to the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic. Turn off the heat and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the eggplant pieces are covered all over with oil. Return the eggplant to the large bowl; leave to cool.

4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the onion and lemon juice with a pinch of salt.

5. Cut the tomatoes into chunks, catching the juices in a bowl. Add the tomato chunks to the eggplant with the tomato juices, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil, onion with the juices in the bowl, herbs, and feta. Toss gently.

Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Home Food”

Serves 6

Ukrainian-born London chef Olia Hercules, author of the new book, “Home Food: 100 Recipes to Comfort & Connect,” mobilized her social media followers (now 147,000 on Instagram), along with her Russian-born friend Alissa Timoshkina, with the hashtag #CookForUkraine, which has raised about $1.8 million for Unicef and Choose Love Ukraine. Hercules’s brother, Sasha, who is on the front, is responsible for food logistics for his fellow soldiers. In the cookbook, she explains, her brother likes to make this eggplant salad with an unusual technique. He dry-fries eggplant pieces in a nonstick skillet until they soften. If you peel strips off the eggplant skin, she explains, the pieces soften faster. When they’re done, they’re charred in spots. Olive oil and toasted sesame oil go into the salad, along with ripe tomatoes, onions soaked in lemon juice, fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, or a combination), and crumbled feta. Hercules says her brother calls it “Armenian salad.” It’s a gem, with qualities of both French ratatouille and Sicilian caponata.

2 large eggplants (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 large ripe tomatoes, cored
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons herbs, such as cilantro, dill, basil (or a combination)
6 ounces feta, crumbled

1. Trim the eggplants and peel off lengthwise strips, leaving skin attached, so they look striped. Cut the flesh into 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes; no need to be precise.

2. In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, without oil, dry fry half the eggplant pieces, moving them often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they soften and brown in spots. Transfer to a large bowl. Cook the remaining eggplant in the same way.

3. Return all the eggplant to the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic. Turn off the heat and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the eggplant pieces are covered all over with oil. Return the eggplant to the large bowl; leave to cool.

4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the onion and lemon juice with a pinch of salt.

5. Cut the tomatoes into chunks, catching the juices in a bowl. Add the tomato chunks to the eggplant with the tomato juices, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil, onion with the juices in the bowl, herbs, and feta. Toss gently.Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Home Food”