A saucy steak with eggplant

DINNER TONIGHT

October 20, 2004|By Joe Gray | Joe Gray,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Sometimes I'll have in mind something for dinner and a vague idea of how I want it to end up, but no idea of how to get there. So, I head to a favorite cookbook or sometimes two or more. Skimming through recipes, I often meld the ideas from several into one dish, or I find a cooking method that I like and adapt it.

This time, with eggplant on the menu, I opened a classic, Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking. This recipe is inspired by her melanzane a fungetielli, or eggplant cooked in the style of mushrooms, from the Campania region. To her eggplant and tomatoes, we add sweet peppers near the end of cooking to keep their texture. And we've got a more liberal hand with the fresh herbs, both in quantity and variety.

The dish goes well with a simply prepared steak, in this case eye of round, which cooks in minutes and without fuss. A fruity Italian wine such as barbera pairs beautifully with this meal.

Tips

Chop the tomatoes and pepper while the eggplant is cooking.

For best flavor, be sure to use small eggplants.

Menu

Eggplant saute with eye-of-round steak

Leaf-lettuce salad with vinaigrette

Barbera or dolcetto

Fig tart with spumoni

Eggplant Saute With Eye-of-Round Steak

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: about 25 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)

8 to 10 small eggplants, chopped into 1/2 -inch cubes

4 ripe tomatoes, cut in large chunks

2 green Italian sweet peppers, or 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

12 kalamata olives, quartered

2 tablespoons minced, each: fresh basil, thyme, oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

4 eye-of-round steaks

1/4 cup red wine

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant; cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook stirring frequently, until they begin to give up their juice, about 5 minutes.

Add peppers; cook 2 minutes. Stir in olives, herbs, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in cast-iron skillet. Cook steaks 2 at a time, just until brown; 1 minute to 2 minutes per side. Keep warm; repeat with remaining steaks.

Pour wine into pan; cook 1 minute, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Brush sauce over steaks; serve remaining sauce over steaks. Top steaks with eggplant mixture.

Per serving: 367 calories; 18 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 65 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrate; 29 grams protein; 535 milligrams sodium; 2 grams fiber

- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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