WHEN YOU SEE it listed on Italian menus as al funghetto, it means that the eggplant is cooked in olive oil with garlic and parsley, in an adaptation of the procedure traditionally associated with the
cooking of mushrooms.
At first, because eggplant has the structure of a sponge, you will see it soak up most of the oil.
You mustn’t be alarmed; as you continue cooking, the heat causes the spongy structure to cave in and release all the oil.
Never add oil while cooking; simply make sure you have enough at the start.
For 6 servings:
About 3 pounds eggplant;
1 or 2 garlic cloves, lightly mashed with a knife handle and peeled;
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil;
2 tablespoons parsley chopped very fine;
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill;
1. Trim and peel the eggplant, and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubes in a pasta colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, toss to the cubes in a pasta colander, sprinkle liberally with salt, toss to
distribute the salt evenly, and set over a deep dish.
Let steep for 1 hour, then take the eggplant pieces out of the colander and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels.
2. Put the garlic and olive oil in a skillet or saute pan, and turn on the heat to medium.
Cook the garlic, stirring, until it becomes colored a pale gold.
Remove it, add the eggplant, and turn the heat up to medium high. At first, when the eggplant soaks up all the oil, turn it frequently.
When the heat causes it to discharge the oil, lower the flame to medium again.
When the eggplant has cooked for about 15 minutes, add the parsley and pepper.
Toss thoroughly and continue to cook another 20 minutes or so, until the eggplant feels very tender when prodded with a fork.
Taste and correct for salt. Transfer to a serving platter, using a slotted spoon or spatula.