Almodrote, which appears in every Sephardic cookbook, dates back to early Spain. The word is of Arab origin, and in medieval Catalonia, almodroc referred to a dish with garlic, eggs, and cheese. Somewhere along the way the garlic disappeared, but the cheese and eggs remained. I found that the variables for this recipe have to do with the proportion of eggplant, cheese, and egg. Some recipes include bread as a thickener, while others contain no bread at all. If you want to return the garlic to the original concept, add a clove or two, well minced, to the mashed eggplant. Some chopped parsley or dill is a nice addition, too.
For a smoky taste, preheat the broiler and broil the eggplants, turning often, until they are very soft and have collapsed, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, cook them slowly on a stove-top cast-iron griddle, turning them often. You also can bake them in a 400 degrees F oven until they are soft throughout, about 45 minutes. Transfer the eggplants to a colander.
When cool enough to handle, strip away the skin and remove the large seed pockets. Place the pulp on a cutting board and chop coarsely. Return it to the colander and let drain for 10 to 20 minutes to release the bitter juices. You should have
Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the bread, eggs, ricotta or feta cheese, and all but
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.