Saturday, May 18, 2024

Quick Cook: Eggplant and tomato stew with rosemary polenta recipe

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This gardener’s harvest meal will make the whole house smell of summer. Pan-fried eggplant, onion and tomato glazed with balsamic reduction ooze flavorful juices atop a pillow of creamy rosemary polenta. I like to top the whole thing with a few sprigs of fried rosemary for some extra color and aroma.

The dish is equally delicious using basil in place of rosemary for both the polenta and to top the eggplant. I like the concentrated tomato flavor of dry farmed Early Girls, if you can get your hands on them. Otherwise, you can use a similar sized tomato, such as Roma.

Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Rosemary Polenta

Serves 4


For the polenta:

3½ cups seasoned vegetable broth

1 cup polenta

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

¾ cup shredded Parmesan

For the eggplant and tomato stew:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 very large eggplant (~ 1 ½ pounds), chopped into 1-inch cubes

2 pounds tomatoes, halved and then quartered

1½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon balsamic reduction

For the fried rosemary:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary


To make the polenta, bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the polenta and rosemary. Cover and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally, until polenta is thick and creamy, 13 to 15 minutes.

To make the eggplant and tomato stew, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the eggplant and allow to lightly brown in the skillet, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until they’ve released their juices and are deep red. Stir in the salt and balsamic reduction; taste and adjust seasoning.

To fry the rosemary, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the rosemary sprigs and use a fork or tongs to toss the rosemary in the hot oil. Fry for 1 minute or until the rosemary leaves are deeper green and slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve the glazed eggplant over a bed of warm polenta, topped with crispy fried rosemary.

Registered dietitian and food writer Laura McLively is the author of “The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook.” Follow her at @myberkeleybowl and

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