It was the perfect ending of the summer. We wore summer dresses and sandals. We walked five neighborhoods, to capture the warmth, buzz and sunshine, and store them in a jar for when the rains arrive. We sat on the sidewalk, happily tired, eating ices. We took photographs in the late afternoon, bathed in the golden hues of the sun about to disappear. We filled up our bags with eggplants, herbs, lemons, honey and flowers, and went home to make that last dish of summer 2013.
Diced Eggplant With Honey and Herbs
* 1 1/2 lb baby eggplant, or any small sweet variety, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
* 1 tbsp honey
* 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil for the mint sauce, plus more for brushing
* 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 tsp mint, minced
* 1 tbsp parsley, minced
* Juice of one lemon
* A pinch of red pepper flakes
* Salt and pepper
1. In a small bowl, mix the honey, mint, parsley, red pepper flakes, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss the eggplant dice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant dice on a large baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until tender and slightly brown around the edges.
3. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl. When the eggplant is completely cool, drizzle it with the honey sauce, mix well, if needed adjust the seasoning and serve.
A note on the eggplant: Small eggplants are sweet and do not need to be pre-salted. If you are using the large variety, first peel the eggplant partially, so that it has lengthwise stripes, and cut crosswise into 1-inch tick slices. Sprinkle the slices with salt, and arrange on a paper towel. Let the eggplant stand for about 30 minutes to release water and bitter juices, and then cut into 1-inch dice.