If the recipe you're working with calls for a jalapeno pepper, DO NOT think "That doesn't look very hot", and proceed to put one of the little seeds on your tongue. Trust me on this one.
(Yes, I did.)
Now that we got that out of the way, here's Abuelita's Eggplant Spread.
1 large eggplant
1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 hot pepper (the long green one was hot enough)
2 TBS. tomato paste
2-3 tsp. vinegar
Peel and cube the eggplant, salt it and put in a colander until it "cries"--liquid will drain out and the eggplant will be softer.
(I didn't rinse the eggplant, but I probably should have, it is a tiny drop on the salty side now).
Saute the eggplant in a bit of vegetable oil until it looks cooked. Abuelita (that's my mother-in-law) said to do it until it's "transparent", but I never could see through the eggplant, so at one point I said, "that's enough, you looked cooked".
Remove the eggplant and in the same pan saute the onion and the peppers without tasting any errant seeds.
When that's done, add the cooked eggplant, a bit of water, the tomato paste and the vinegar. Leave it on a low flame for a couple of minutes stirring frequently. (Or don't bother stirring it frequently, that's an annoying instruction).
It's a nice treat with crackers or to serve at the beginning of a meal with your chumus and other "salatim" (little salads that Israelis serve at practically every meal).
Now excuse me while I go ice my mouth.
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