In Greece, we call ‘saganaki’ a frying pan with a handle on either side. It does sound a bit Japanese, but it isn’t. Usually the handles are metal, because the cooking can be finished in the oven. There are many recipes using a saganaki, from cheese to seafood. Today, I will give you a recipe with eggplants and peppers which can be eaten for lent or as a vegetarian dish.
Ingredients: 2 eggplants 3 – 4 bell peppers (green and/or red) 1 large onion chopped 1 small chili 1 – 2 cloves of garlic minced 2 large tomatoes chopped or 1 can chopped tomatoes ½ cup olive oil 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls parsley Salt & pepper Crumbled feta cheese (if liked)
Cut the eggplants in thick slices and place them in a bowl with cold water and salt. Leave them until you prepare the tomato sauce.
In a saganaki or frying pan sauté the onion in 2 tablespoonfuls olive oil for 4 – 5 minutes and then add about 1 cup of water. Let it boil until the water evaporates. This way the dish is lighter and the onion becomes really soft. You then add the tomatoes and the garlic, salt, pepper and the chilli, and let it simmer until the liquid evaporates.
Squeeze the water out of the eggplants and dry them on kitchen paper. Put the rest of the oil in another frying pan and sauté them in batches so that they brown lightly on both sides. Remove them from the frying pan and place them in the tomato sauce in the saganaki. Cut the peppers in thick slices and sauté them after the eggplants. When lightly browned you place them in the saganaki as well. With a spoon, put some tomato sauce over the vegetables. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle the parsley over. If you wish, you can also place cubes of feta cheese here and there over the vegetables. When baked, the cheese will melt, and the result is unbelievably tasty.
In the meantime you have pre-warmed the oven at 170oC. Place the saganaki in the oven and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes.
Note: If you wish you can cook it on the stove top, in an ordinary frying pan. Add the vegetables in the tomato sauce and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick. If on the other hand you want to finish it in oven, you can wrap aluminum foil round the handle of the pan (if it is plastic and may melt) and carry on as above.