Tuesday, November 15, 2011

charred eggplant and tomatoes with mint and red pepper flakes

Just one simple dish for you today: charred eggplant and tomatoes with mint. Originally it was supposed to be "with harissa and mint," but I don't have harissa. Actually, I didn't even know what it was, but I looked it up, and it's a spicy hot chili sauce from North Africa, so I decided I could just use chili powder. As you probably know, I'm kind of a wimp about spicy food anyway, so I didn't lose too much sleep over it.

As for the rest of the recipe, first you cook the eggplant in a cast iron skillet with hot olive oil. That's where the "charred" part of the recipe title comes from. Then you set aside the eggplant and do the same thing with tomatoes in a smoking hot pan. Add some salt, and cook til they are "softened, juicy, and lightly charred." Doesn't that sound good? You also add some sliced garlic and the chili powder (or harissa, if you keep such strange condiments stocked in your fridge), and mix the eggplant back in.

Once it's all been cooked together for a minute or two, you add lemon juice, mint, and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. That's the part where I am really happy to have my window herb garden, or at least what's left of it (damn you basil and thyme for dying on me!).

It was a nice blend of flavors, with the smokiness that comes with cooking over such high heat, and the slight heat from the chili powder and the cooling quality of the mint and lemon. You might have to wait awhile for good tomatoes and eggplant to make this, but Nathan and I really loved this savory, garlicky treat, and I would highly recommend keeping this in your back pocket til next year.

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