The favorite vegetable of the summer season is the star of this so simple to make, so scrumptious to eat contorno Napoletano. Bite size pieces of melanzane, aka aubergines or eggplant are sautéed in olive oil until they are soft, golden brown and look like little mushrooms.

Hence the name Melanzane a Funghetto, Mulignane a Fungetiello in Neapolitan or Eggplant cooked in the style of small mushrooms. At least that’s what I’m told.

Of course, this was rather confusing to me the first time I ordered it and found nary a trace of mushrooms in the dish. But once my expectations were readjusted, I became a huge fan of this easy to make and very versatile Neapolitan delight.

Not only is it a delicious contorno, but you can serve it hot or cold as an antipasto.  Make it with or without pomodorini, use it as a topping for your favorite panini or impress your friends with a gourmet plate of crostini.

Still hungry for more? Toss it on a pizzetta fritta or a pizza margherita. And of course, it is a great “sauce” to condition your favorite pasta.

How will you serve your Melanzane a Funghetto?

Ingredients

1 kg Fresh Eggplant
400 grams Cherry Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic
Fresh Basil Leaves
Salt
Olive oil (non Extra Virgin)

Method

Prepare the Tomatoes
Halve the tomatoes
Chop 5-6 basil leaves
Saute garlic (whole or halved as you prefer) over medium heat
Turn heat to high and add tomatoes and basil and cook 3 – 4 mins
Turn heat down to medium and cook about 15 minutes partially covered
Remove the garlic

Prepare the Eggplant
Cut off the tops and bottoms and quarter the eggplant
Trim off the seedy center and dice the eggplant

Dice the Eggplant for Melanzane a Funghetto
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Put the eggplant in a large bowl of salted water and let sit about 15 minutes (some varieties may not need this step)
Squeeze the water out of the eggplant and set aside

Squeeze the water out of the eggplant for Melanzane a Funghetto
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Bring the dish together
Heat oil over medium high heat
Fry a batch of eggplant at a time until golden brown

Remove the eggplant to a serving dish with a slotted spoon
Add salt and mix through
Let rest for about 5 minutes


Add in the tomatoes
Add a few basil leaves and stir through

Buon Appetito!