Similar to French ratatouille, Samfaina is a Catalonian vegetable relish that is long-cooked to a marmalade-like consistency. It is wonderful on fish, eggs, potatoes, or even toast. The key to its success is to dice the vegetables into small pieces. It will keep, covered, for several days in the refrigerator.
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced very small
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and very finely diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 red bell peppers (or one red and one green), peeled, seeded and sliced in thin strips or diced very small
- 1 medium zucchini, peeled and very finely diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, or a 14-ounce can, drained
Lay the eggplant pieces on two layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. After 30 minutes, squeeze out the liquid and pat dry.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in an earthenware casserole over a flame tamer or in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they soften, about 8 minutes.
Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining olive oil along with the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, and black pepper. Turn the heat to low, stir, then cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt, cover again, and cook over low heat until the mixture has reduced to a thick relish, 2 to 3 more hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings. Before serving, allow the relish to sit for at least 1 hour, or better yet, refrigerate overnight.
Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from the New York Times, October 10, 2010