You know when you have a recipe that follows you for so long that you have no idea where it originated from? That’s this recipe. This eggplant dish is almost always on the menu when I have friends over for Saturday lunch, and they work great next to another one of my recipe staples, the grape leaf bake, as an antipasti or as a brushetta, like we photographed (and ate).
I like recipes that aren’t too inventive- I like the ones that take a recipe that everyone knows (and can make) that have a little twist, either in ingredients or preparation, which makes them stand out, and then I add them to my recipe arsenal.
The unique ingredient here is the balsamic vinegar. I mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar (as much as the two can be mixed), and then using a kitchen brush, I brush the slices of eggplants on both sides and then roast in the oven. The sugar from the balsamic caramelizes during baking, leaving the eggplants slightly sweet and very golden.
I love the eat this dish right out of the oven, when the eggplants are really crispy and melt in your mouth yet after they cool down the balsamic begins to show its presence. All of the moisture begins to appear and then I sprinkle on fresh mint leaves, a bit of olive oil, good quality feta cheese, and they are ready to be served.
Sometimes when I make these, and I want to spoil my husband, I make some hard boiled eggs and cook 2 potatoes, and put together some of the finest Sabih (traditional Middle-Eastern sandwich, consisting of eggplant, hardboiled egg, potatoes and tehini). That’s how I get what I want- with Sabih.
Because I live in Yaffo I can almost always find the type of eggplant used shown in the pictures, known as Baladi (an Arab term for local), which I highly recommend. If you can’t find Baladi eggplants, stick with the really dark, nearly black ones (not purple), that are light in weight (meaning they have less seeds).
Ingredients for 6 servings:
3 medium sized eggplants, sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea sat
For serving: mint leaves, olive oil and feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place the eggplants close together on the baking dish.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and use a kitchen brush to generously brush the mixture onto the eggplants. Turn over the eggplants and repeat, using the remaining mixture. (If you run out of the mixture, make more- don’t worry too much about exact amounts here- you can’t go wrong). Season generously with sea salt.
4. Bake for around 50 minutes, until golden. Flip the eggplants once during baking.
5. Allow to chill to room temperature and serve with fresh mint leaves, feta cheese and a bit of good quality olive oil.