1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro (fresh coriander)
Cut eggplant into 3/4-inch dice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add eggplant cubes and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté, stirring, 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme and cayenne. Cover; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, 7 to 10 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Taste; adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with a bit more oil if desired. Gently stir in parsley before serving. Yield: 3 or 4 servings. Variation: Cut 8 ounces fresh mushrooms into thick slices. Sauté in 1 tablespoon oil in skillet about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Sauté eggplant as above. Before covering pan of eggplant, add sautéed mushrooms. Cover; cook together until tender.