Moroccan-Inspired Honeyed Eggplant

Over the next four weeks we will be sharing recipes from our forthcoming cookbook The New Mediterranean Jewish Table by Joyce Goldstein. Check back each Friday morning for a new recipe from the kitchens of three Mediterranean Jewish cultures: the Sephardic, the Maghrebi, and the Mizrahi.

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Moroccan-Inspired Honeyed Eggplant

Aubergine au Miel, or Barania

Traditionally served for breaking the fast at Yom Kippur, this dish is so seductive it will convert people to eggplant lovers. Using fresh ginger instead of dried makes all the difference.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 small or 2 medium Japanese eggplants cut in half lengthwise

Or 2 globe eggplant, peeled, and in one inch dice

Olive oil

2-3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ras al hanout

2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin

6 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt

Instructions:

Score the cut sides of the Japanese eggplants with a knife in a crosshatch pattern. Brush liberally with olive oil and place on griddle or in heavy sauté pan adding a bit more oil as needed. Cook on medium heat until eggplant is softened and golden, turning a few times.

If your market does not have Japanese eggplants you can also use 2 globe eggplants, peeled and cut in 1 inch dice and sauté in oil until golden.)

Mince fresh ginger and garlic in mini processor or grate or chop finely. In a wide saute pan large enough to hold the cooked eggplants (in one layer if possible) warm 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add ras al hanout and cumin and then stir in the honey, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Simmer for a few minutes, then transfer the eggplant to the pan, adding ¼ cup water if the sauce is stiff). Coat the eggplant with sauce and cook over low heat until eggplant absorbs most of the honey lemon mixture and becomes caramelized.

Variation: If you are entertaining and do not want to make this at the last minute, prepare the sauce and turn eggplant in the sauce for a few minutes. Then transfer to a baking dish and heat in a 350 degree oven until bubbly, about 25 minutes. If you like, sprinkle with sesame seeds, as for the dessert barania on page xx in the preserves chapter.

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Joyce Goldstein was chef and owner of the groundbreaking Mediterranean restaurant Square One in San Francisco. Prior to opening Square One, she was chef at the Chez Panisse Café and visiting executive chef at the Wine Spectator Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. Today she is a cooking teacher, consultant to the restaurant and food industries, and prolific cookbook author.