Eggplant, Pepper and Tomato Tapas

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence - Recipe adapted from "My Balkan Kitchen" by Shai-Lee Lipa


2 medium Eggplants, sliced into 0.5" rounds
6-8 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips 
6 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
100 grams tomato paste
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1-cup water
1.5 tsp granulated sugar
1.5-tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Roast the eggplant: Heat the oven to 400F.
Place the eggplant slices on a rimmed cookie sheet, drizzle tablespoons olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.

2. Prepare the Sauce: Heat a wide deep skillet on medium heat and add 3 tablespoons olive oil and the pepper slices. Salute the pepper for about 5 minutes until the pepper turn golden.
Add the tomatoes, paste, garlic, water and sugar, then season with the rest of the spices and salt and pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil.
Lower the flame and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens.

3. Cook the eggplant: Add the roasted eggplant slices into the sauce, stir them in and cook for 5 minutes longer, for the flavors to meld.
Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

4. Serving: Serve hot or at room temperature. 
Keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about 4 days.