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  • 2 medium firm eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 6 cloves garlic, 2 crushed, 4 thinly sliced
  • 1 to 3 small red chili peppers, 1 split, 1 to 2 minced or about 1 teaspoon chili flakes instead of the minced peppers
  • Black pepper
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sprig oregano, finely chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed in your palm
  • A fat handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup ricotta salata, coarsely grated


Serves: 6 steaks


Preheat oven to 425°F.
Trim sides and top of eggplants and slice into 3 steaks per eggplant each about 3/4-inch thick. Salt steaks and drain on folded kitchen towels for 30 minutes, turning once.

Place about 1/4 cup olive oil in a small pan with crushed garlic and the split pepper. Heat over medium heat and swirl around for a minute or two to infuse oil.    
Brush the eggplant steaks with garlic-chili oil and season with black pepper. Arrange on a large, nonstick baking sheet and roast 15 minutes; turn and roast 10-12 minutes more or until both sides of eggplant are light golden all over and tender.
Meanwhile, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and minced chilies or crushed pepper flakes and stir a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cover pan. Shake pan every few minutes until tomatoes burst, about 10-12 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash tomatoes to incorporate the juices fully into a thick sauce. Add chopped or dried oregano and torn basil, and reduce heat to low. 
To serve, top eggplant steaks with chunky cherry tomato sauce and coarsely grate ricotta salata over the top.