Baby Eggplant with Harissa and Mint

Adapted by
(Broadway Books, July 2003)
Yield: 4 Servings


4 small Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped, plus additional for garnish
4 teaspoons harissa * (can substitute chili garlic paste or other hot sauce)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
black pepper, freshly ground
lemon wedges, for serving


*Harissa is available at specialty and Middle Eastern food markets.

Score the cut sides of the eggplants lightly into a crosshatch pattern. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mint, harissa, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Lay eggplants on a platter, cut sides up, and brush them with harissa mixture. Let eggplants sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the grill.

Lay eggplants cut sides down on the grill, turning when cut sides are well browned, and cook until completely tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Drizzle eggplants with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with additional chopped mint. Serve hot or at room temperature and garnish with lemon wedges.

(Note: The eggplant can also be cooked in the oven under the broiler. Once cooked, the eggplant can be puréed to make a wonderful dip.)

Wine pairing:
An aromatic, floral white such as Navarro Vineyards 2003 Gewurztraminer Cuvée Traditional