Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes with Harissa and Mint

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Young, firm eggplants are the best for this dish. Cook them just till they char and become tender, any longer and they will turn mushy. After a few seconds, they will absorb all the oil in the pan; they will cook just fine without the need for more.

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Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes with Harissa and Mint

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
Special equipment:cast iron skillet
This recipe appears in: Spice Hunting: Harissa, North African Hot Sauce
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, large dice (small tomatoes can be halved)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Harissa, to taste, plus more for the table
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/2 to 2/4 cup roughly chopped mint leaves, loosely packed
  • Extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat a large cast iron skillet on very high heat until it smokes. Add 4 tablespoons oil and wait till it shimmers, then add eggplant. Stir to coat with oil and cook until lightly charred and tender but toothsome, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet to a bowl or plate.

  2. 2

    Let skillet heat again until smoking, then add remaining two tablespoons oil and let shimmer. Add tomatoes and a fat pinch of salt, stirring occasionally until softened, juicy, and lightly charred. Add garlic, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons harissa (more if you like), and cooked eggplant to skillet. Toss and cook for one minute, then remove skillet from heat.

  3. 3

    Add lemon juice, mint, and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Toss, add salt to taste, and serve immediately, with extra harissa at the table.

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