This dish is SPECIAL. I saw it in a cookbook I recently picked up called Vegan Recipes from Spain by Gonzalo Baro. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but I think it's probably pretty close. I didn't have the variety of peppers (piquillo) used in his recipe, I used tinned tomatoes instead of ripe...and I think I probably have different ratios of ingredients. So, a bit different, but I think at least my version is a close adaptation. Not authentic, but still delicious and besides veganizing something can often mean deviating from an authentic version of a dish anyway. Ajoarrierro is a style of cooking in Northern Spain and is typically a dish of salt cod with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and piquillo peppers. Sometimes potatoes are added and also different seafood can be used.
What I REALLY want to convey before moving onto the recipe, is that this is the most delicious yet simple preparation for eggplant I have ever had the pleasure of eating. A crispy crumb coating, fried until golden brown. The result...heaven. Crispy exterior, and the creamiest interior. I'm not sure you'd even be able to quite tell it was eggplant if someone didn't tell you. I think recipes like this are worth bookmarking. Quick to prepare, yet impressive and incredibly delicious.
The stew or sauce is simple. Onion, garlic, red bell pepper, tomatoes, flavoured with smoked paprika and a couple pinches of saffron. I simmer it until it's rich and thick. Then simply serve the crispy fried eggplant on top of it. I almost think of the stew as more of a condiment to the eggplant. I don't want a lot of extra bites of the stew alone. Maybe if I had some bread on the side I would pile any extra onto that...but the components really compliment each other when eaten in the same mouthful. I could see blitzing the stew into a sauce, and then serving it in a bowl with smaller crispy eggplant bites for dipping. The way I'm sharing is more of a main dish to serve with other sides. If I was planning for nibbles I would do it the other way. Toothpicks for grabbing the eggplant and dunking into sauce. It's just an idea...I haven't tried it yet.
Crispy Eggplant with Smoky Tomato & Pepper Stew
Smoky Pepper and Tomato Stew
The next time I make this I will measure the below breading ingredients...but I didn't...I just mixed up more as needed...I'll give rough estimates.
Hey! I'm Trisha