Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eggplant with Mint and Feta

If you don’t grow your own mint, you can make do with a single bunch from the supermarket. But if you do grow your own, use a lot!

(serves four as a main course or eight as a side dish)

2 cloves garlic
juice of 2 lemons
kosher salt
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large Italian eggplant
olive oil
6-8 oz feta cheese
1 bunch fresh mint
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper

1. Peel and grate the garlic. Combine in a small bowl with the lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Add the shallots and stir to coat. Set aside, stirring occasionally to keep the shallots marinating.

2. Trim and slice the eggplant into rounds ¼–½ inch thick. Using a brush, “paint” each slice with olive oil (both sides). At the same time, sprinkle each slice with a little salt.

3. Grill the eggplant until tender, about three minutes per side. Remove and let cool.

4. Crumble the feta. Remove the mint leaves from the stems, roll into cylinders (several at a time), and slice into quarter–inch ribbons.

5. After removing and reserving the shallots, add the cumin, the cayenne and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the lemon juice. Whisk to form a vinaigrette.

6. Line a serving platter with a layer of grilled eggplant. Top with some shallots, some feta, and some mint. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients to compose a pleasing stack. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.

• The easiest way to grate the garlic is with a Microplane rasp-style grater.

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