Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Royal Mint!

Melanzane e Pomodorini alla Menta
Minty Aubergine and Cherry Tomatoes

Indeed, tomatoes and aubergines can be classed as royalty in the realm of Mediterranean cuisine. So many dishes are based on their wonderful flavors and so many variations of them are enjoyed the world over... yes, I am a loyal follower!

And this evenings dish is a very simple, but very typical Sicilian or Italian combination- eggplant and tomato with fresh mint and a little garlic- a wonderful paring that is made for sharing! I sure hope you all enjoy!

I started off by slicing and salting the aubergine, letting it sit for 15-20 minutes to lose some of its bitterness. And whilst that was happening I prepared a little seasoned salt/herb paste to do the real flavoring of the dish later.

I combined coarse sea salt, dried oregano, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of fennel seed, a little fresh rosemary and some peppercorns in my mortar and pestle and ground them down to a crumbly paste. I added a pinch of sugar at the end- my secret weapon- and that was that! Ready! And ready for the eggplant again!

I squeezed the slices out a little, as the salt draws the eggplants juices to the surface and drizzled them lightly with olive oil. Into a hot pan they went, with a good sprinkle of the salt/ seasoning, at a moderate heat, for 10 minutes or so, flipping them over every now and then. Towards the end, add a little more olive oil and see how much pretty the color becomes, from pale white to beautiful gold.

When the aubergine is done, remove from the pan and add the tomatoes, give them a little fresh oil, a sprinkle of the seasoned salt and after 3-4 minutes of cooking, a little squeeze of honey and the same of lemon juice. Squash the tomatoes down a little, turn the heat up a little- and get ready to enjoy a little! Because they are now done and ready to enjoy! But only after a generous sprinkle of the fresh mint that makes this all so delicious- SO good! Grab a hunk of bread and a glass of red and enjoy :-)

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