Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

March 18, 2010
Irene Saiger


Marinated Eggplant

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.

Tovchik’s Eggplant
2 eggplants
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
red wine vinegar
vegetable oil

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


8 thoughts on “Marinated Eggplant

  1. Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

  2. Hi,

    I was doing a search for K. Usha when I came across this page and found the recipe. I will try it! I see the red lentils at the top of the page. Do you have a recipe for them? I have a container in my kitchen as I write.

    There is someone at Usha in my field I am corresponding and talking with. So it is nice to see this as well. I was at Ein Shemer for a year in 1984-85. I want to go back to the country.

    Best, Rob Pliskin
    Shaker Heights OH USA

  3. Hello Irene,

    I enjoy your blog very much and the marinated eggplant is very similar to mine. This year e will go to Portland for Pesah to be with Jonathan and his new friends there.
    Have a wonderful Pesah and all the best to you and your family. Love,

  4. hey irene
    aba sent me your post and it was very warming to read it today- after last night’s Seder with the family and without ima. you probably know that the holidays are the times when all the memories hit you…
    i never liked those eggplants and always got a headake from the frying but they surtainly were one of moms and sharons favorites so this story is butiful for me to read…
    happy and kosher pesach to you all
    love ela

    • Hi Ela,

      It was so nice to get an e-mail from you and hear how you felt about your Mom’s recipe. It is my daughter Shira’s favorite and I love that she knows about Tovchik because of it. Please say hi to everyone in the family.

      Chag Sameach to all of you too. If you ever come to Los Angeles, please come see us!!


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