Many years ago I was a volunteer on Kibbutz Usha in Northern Israel. I asked to be assigned to the dairy and was given the morning shift, working side by side with an Arab named Hasan, a kind and willing teacher. It was quite an experience for a girl from New York. For me, the year I spent on Usha was filled with new experiences, but milking 300 cows a day was one of the highlights. Another was that Norm and I got engaged that year! The kibbutznikim were warm and friendly and we still have lifelong friends that we met that year. One couple in particular, Amitai and Tovchik, became like family to us. Tovchik would marinade eggplants and keep them in a jar in her fridge, ready to serve if you ever stopped by for the typical Israeli 4 pm meal. It was a delicious snack, (although definitely not low-cal.) Sadly Tovchik passed away several years ago but it has become my tradition to make her eggplant dish every Passover. It makes me think of Tovchik and my year at Usha with love and a smile.
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
red wine vinegar
Lay sliced eggplants on a tray in a single layer and salt liberally. Let them sit for half an hour and then pat off excess moisture and salt with a paper towel. Make sure both sides are dry.
Fill a frying pan with about 2″ of oil. When oil is very hot, fry eggplant till brown, several minutes on each side.
Take a deep dish and cover with a layer of eggplant. Then slice 2-3 cloves fresh garlic and toss slices over eggplants. Lightly drizzle with red wine vinegar. Add another layer of eggplant, more garlic and more vinegar and keep repeating till all eggplant is used.
Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 24 hours. Serve at room temperature