This recipe is something that many people asking me to make when they come to visit. There is certain comfort that comes with well done eggplant. I wasn't a big fan of this vegetable until I made this. There are two ways to approach it; with sugar and without. I personally don't like anything sweet, so my favorite version is more savory. But whenever you decide on adding brown sugar or honey, oh man, there wasn't a person in our house that didn't scream : WHAT IS THIS?!
You can serve this tapenade many different ways: on bread as a spread, on pasta as a sauce or just pig out and eat it with the spoon straight from the jar.
Sometimes I make extra and preserve it in jars, it last for a while in the fridge.
2 onions - chopped
4 little roma tomatoes or 2 large beefsteak tomatoes - blanched, skin removed
3 tbs organic tomato paste
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup of water
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
7 oz soba noodles
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place eggplant on baking sheet and poke few holes with tip of the knife. Roast it for about 50 minutes to an hour until it collapse. Gently remove it from the oven and wait until cool down, than cut it in half. Meanwhile place the tomatoes in a bowl with boiling water and wait 10 minutes for skin to separate. Chop onions and start caramelizing process on large pan with 1 tbs of olive oil. When eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrap all the inside with a spoon leaving the skin out and mix it with translucent onion. Stir it for few minutes, than cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Keep on adding water as vegetables will dry out.
After eggplant and onions are the same color add chopped tomatoes and stir. After 10 minutes add 3 tbs of tomato paste. Simmer covered for another 10 minutes. At the end add salt and sugar to taste. All the ingredients should be combined and look like a chunky paste. Whole simmering process should take anywhere between 35-45 minutes.
Cook soba noodles in boiling water with 1 tsp of salt for 4 minutes, drain and serve hot. Place generous serving of tapenade on noodles and garnish with chopped chives and roasted pine nuts. Enjoy!