Small, slender Japanese eggplants are used for Daniel Boulud’s vibrant veggie dish, which would make an excellent starter or side. Serve the eggplant with a hefty dollop of sumac yogurt—it cuts through the tangy sweetness of the sherry vinegar and honey beautifully.
3 Japanese eggplants
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ cup honey
1 cup sherry vinegar
3 roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds removed
1 small yellow onion, small-diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 sprigs thyme
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon ground sumac
½ cup mint leaves, cut into thin strips
Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Trim the tops and bottoms of the eggplants and cut into pieces about 1½ inches thick. Arrange the eggplant on a sheet tray, cut-side facing up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
While the eggplant is roasting, combine the honey and the sherry vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let the liquid reduce until it has the consistency of a syrup or glaze, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Using a box grater set over a bowl, grate the tomato flesh until only the skin is left. Discard the skins.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion in translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook slowly until the tomatoes and onions are soft. Keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt with the sumac and season with salt.
To serve, transfer the roasted eggplant to a large saute pan, arranged cut-side up. Over medium heat, spoon the honey/sherry-vinegar glaze over each round of eggplant, basting continuously. Transfer the eggplant to a serving platter and top each eggplant with a spoonful of the stewed tomato mixture. Sprinkle the mint over top and serve with the sumac yogurt.