this is a little bit inspired by greg + lucy malouf's soused zucchini recipe, so you could probably make this a zucchini salad, if you were that kind of person (i am not. well, not in salad).
1 medium sized eggplant
lots and lots of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon castor sugar
2 teaspoons sumac (plus some extra, if you like)
fresh coriander and/or parsley
cut up the eggplant. thinnish slices is best but emilly did it in chunks, and was then cursing the chunks during the entire cooking process. put the eggplant into a colander with lots of salt on each surface; put a plate on the top and some cans to weigh it down and press the eggplant, and leave for at least half an hour.
rinse the eggplant off, pat it dry with a paper towel, and then get more paper towel ready so you can drain the eggplant. fry with what seems like a painful quantity of oil. if you sliced it, you could probably brush each side with some oil so that you don't end up using equal quantities of oil and eggplant, but it cooks nicer and faster with plenty of oil.
for the dressing, combine lemon juice, sugar and sumac. mix together the eggplant and the dressing. this can all go in the fridge if you have prepared it in advance! then when it is time to go to the picnic/serve the salad, add some chopped parsley and/or coriander and sprinkle it over the top!