Tiny fairy tale eggplants get strewn with mint and topped with crumbled feta cheese in this delightful, summer side dish. Farmers markets or specialty grocers are your best for finding the baby eggplants, but if you can't find them, slender Japanese eggplants or even full-sized eggplants can work, though you'll need to increase both the recipe quantities and cooking time accordingly.
Take a cue from the Mediterranean flavors showcased in this dish, and serve the eggplants as part of a mezze spread. Offer baked chickpea fritters, olives, a variety of roasted vegetables, such as red peppers, cauliflower, and zucchini, Israeli hummus, and store-bought or homemade pita.
During Shavuot, cheese also has a starring role on the menu. Offer a farmer's market-inspired spread, and serve the eggplants with an heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese and arugula, a hearty barley and roasted vegetable salad, and cookbook author Ronnie Fein's roasted pistachio-crusted salmon. Finish the meal with a favorite cheesecake recipe.
- 1 pint (about 8 ounces) fairy tale eggplants (trimmed and halved lengthwise)
- Pinch of sea or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint (chopped)
- 1.5 ounces sheep's or cow's milk feta cheese (crumbled)
- Pinch of Za'atar
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Arrange the eggplants cut side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Sprinkle the eggplant halves with a pinch of salt. Drizzle evenly with half of the olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped mint then the feta cheese. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
Roast the eggplants in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and the feta is golden brown in spots. Serve warm.