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.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 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
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.
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.
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.