This is really a recipe for the glaze, not so much for the eggplant, but it is a wonderful and unusual glaze and you will not regret making it. The glaze is like a fairytale, a magical, swirly sensation of flavors, just as I imagine 1001 nights to be, aromatic and fragrant... The glaze is sweet, yet acidic, a bit herbal, with a touch of wine and a touch of honey, and very lemony, but in a really really sweet way. —QueenSashy
1 1/2 - 2 pounds
fairytale eggplant or similar small eggplant variety
extra virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
cup fruity white wine
cardamoms, slightly crushed
each minced rosemary, mint and thyme (the herbs should be minced super finely, almost like dust)
First prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, wine, sugar, honey and cardamoms. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer, and simmer until the mixture has reduced to very thick syrup. (In my working conditions it takes about 30 minutes, but it will depend on the saucepan, quantities and heat, so keep an eye.) Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool completely. (It will ticken some more as it cools.) When the mixture is completely cool, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs and sumac. Mix well and keep on the side.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut them in half. Grease a baking sheet generously with olive oil. Toss the eggplants with the remaining olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, with their cut sides up, and place the baking sheet into the oven. Bake until the eggplants are golden, soft and caramelized on the edges, for about 45 minutes (that too will depend on the size of the eggplant, oven and other working conditions, so keep an eye). Turn the eggplants several times during baking.
Remove the eggplants from the oven. Let them cool. When the eggplants are cool, arrange them on a serving platter and drizzle with the glaze. Serve.
(Note: Small eggplants are sweet and do not need to be presalted before roasting. If you are using large variety, first peel the eggplant and cut crosswise into 1-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle the slices with salt and leave them for about 30 minutes to release bitter juices. Gently rinse the slices, pat dry and proceed with the recipe.)
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.