Eggplant with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Mint
Carol Lopez-Bethel notes that this has been a family favorite "and a great way to get all ages to enjoy eggplant without the more traditional breading or frying, tomato sauce and cheese." It dresses up nicely for company, and is also easy to serve, which she does with crusty sourdough bread.
- 8 young Italian eggplants (1 ½ to 2 lb.), about 8 inches long and 3 inches round
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups (about 3 large or 1½ lb.) Vidalia or other onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ½ cup Anisette
- 1 ½ cups chopped Roma or other firm tomatoes plus juices
- 1 cup (¾ oz.) chopped stemmed fresh mint
- 1 Tbs. dried or fresh oregano
- 1 cup pine nuts
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, removing tough stem ends. Spray cut sides with nonstick cooking spray, and place sprayed side down on baking sheet.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until skin and insides are very tender. Remove from oven, and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté onions until soft and caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add Anisette, increase heat to medium-high heat and cook about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and increase oven temperature to broil.
- Using tongs or spatula, remove onions from skillet, and set aside. Arrange eggplants in skillet face up, and cover eggplants evenly with onions. Arrange tomatoes and any juice, mint, oregano and pine nuts over onions, in that order. Drizzle remaining olive oil over top.
- Place skillet under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, or until mint and onions brown slightly. Remove from oven, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Red Zinfandel and tomatoes make a great combo. The addition of eggplants, mint and oregano seals the deal. What sets this recipe apart, though, is the Anisette. Interestingly, licorice, fennel and anise are flavors often used to describe Red Zinfandel. Try this dish with Steele Clear Lake Catfish Vineyard Zinfandel.