Pan-Seared Eggplant with Sesame and Honey

 

People have a lot of opinions about eggplant. Our stance is that anyone who says they don’t like it just hasn’t had it cooked the right way. The season offers lots of opportunities to present it in various lovely incarnations – fried, grilled, roasted, or pan-seared, as it is here. Creamy, nutty tahini and sweet honey counter eggplant’s natural bitter edge and a shower of herbs keeps things fresh and lively. Just one bite will convert even the loudest eggplant-deniers.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp water
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, smashed
4 small eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut on the bias into 2-3” pieces
1 small bunch of scallions, sliced (use mostly the white part and save the greens for another use)
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 handful of soft herbs, cleaned and picked (we used a mix of cilantro, parsley, basil, and mint)
Pinch Aleppo pepper or chile flakes
Salt to taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make dressing:

In a large bowl, whisk tahini, lemon juice, water, and 2 Tbsp olive oil until smooth.
Season to taste with salt and set aside.

Sear eggplant:

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering.

Add smashed garlic clove and fry until golden brown, then remove and discard.

Add eggplant to hot oil in a single layer (work in batches if you need to to avoid crowding and steaming the eggplant – you want a nice sear). Sprinkle with salt and Aleppo pepper as it cooks.

As eggplant is ready, remove it from the pan directly into the bowl with the dressing.

To finish:

When all the eggplant is in the bowl, add the scallions and gently toss to make sure all the pieces are coated with the dressing.

When all the eggplant is ready, transfer to a large platter, then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and top with herbs. Serve at room temperature.

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