Eggplants with Mint

Original Italian name: Melanzane alla menta

Place of origin: Calabria, Southern Italy

I am completely addicted to dishes with eggplants. I love them in Ratatouille, I admire them in antipasto and other dishes.

Along Italian dishes with eggplants, there are many that extremely popular and famous. Melanzane alla parmigiana is a popular vegetable dish from Calabria. It consists of eggplant slices that are mostly sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven. The next delicious dish involving eggplants is an eggplants puree. The third favorite is Melanzane al Pomodoro, a beautiful combination of eggplants and tomatoes enhanced with grated cheese.

The Calabrians put enormous efforts growing outstanding eggplants. Calabria provides the perfect growing conditions for this fruit which is known originated from China or India. Later the eggplant was introduced into Italy at the end of the 16th century by Arabs who called it badigian. Finally, eggplants thrive all over the Mediterranean region.

Eggplants are harvested between June and October. The color and shape of the fruit have number of variations. The flesh must be firm when picked but the best one has darker skin.

The fruit flesh is soft and filled with numerous small, white seeds that can have whitish, beige or greenish colour. The long, larger eggplant varieties have usually a stronger flavor. White eggplants are smaller and rounder and have a mild taste.

Eggplants with mint is one of my favourite dishes. Although eggplants are mostly summer and autumn fruits, I like to make this vegetable dish in any season. It is fairly easy to make and gives absolutely perfect result. All you need is to slice up eggplants, fry them in olive oil, sprinkle with mint sauce and leave the for several hours to gain a saucy flavor. I would recommend to serve Melanzane alla menta tree hours after the dish has been prepared. This gives herbs enough time to soak in the oil-vinegar mixture.

This meal can be served as antipasti.

Eggplants with mint

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • preparation time -3 min;
  • cooking time -7 min;
  • 5 long eggplants, divided into quarters and cut into slices;
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil;
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed;
  • 10 leaves of fresh mint, chopped;
  • 4 tablespoon of fresh breadcrumbs;
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar;
  • oil for frying;
  • salt, freshly milled.

Method

Wash the eggplants, divide them into quarters lengthwise, remove a little of the flesh and cut them into slices of 1-1, 5 cm thick.

Fry the eggplants in plenty of oil, allow them to drain and season with a little salt.

Mix the extra virgin olive oil with the garlic and chopped mint in a shallow dish. Add the drained eggplants, sprinkle with a little vinegar and mix together well. Add the breadcrumbs and allow to stand for three hours in a warm place. Serve cold.