Spice-Braised Gingered Eggplant with Mint Yogurt
- ACTIVE: 1 HR 15 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS plus cooling
- SERVINGS: makes 4 main-course or 6 first-course servings
Nico Monday and Amelia O’Reilly say they summoned their “inner Moroccan” to spice this vegetarian dish with cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. They serve the baked eggplant at The Market, both as a first course and as a main with couscous, chickpeas and charmoula (a punchy, cilantro-based Moroccan sauce).
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Six 6-ounce Italian or Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- Two 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 2 ounces fresh ginger—peeled and coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mint and vinegar and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add half of the eggplant, cut side down, and fry over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
- In a small skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely, then finely grind the spices. Add the mustard seeds to the skillet and toast over moderate heat until they start to pop, about 2 minutes.
- In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, mix the tomatoes with the ground spices, toasted mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 cup of water and the 1/2 cup each of chopped cilantro and parsley. Arrange the eggplant halves cut side down in the sauce and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the eggplant once, until it is tender. Remove the foil and bake the eggplant for 15 minutes longer. Let the eggplant cool completely in the sauce.
- Transfer the eggplant to plates. Spoon the tomato sauce on top and garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley. Drizzle with yogurt sauce over the eggplant and serve.
Fresh, raspberry-rich Pinot Noir.