Sweet and Spicy Eggplant Relish

In this recipe, the Marrakesh N6 spice blend brings sweet and savory notes to the vegetables and honors the tradition of Moroccan cuisine. The coarse-ground spices add another layer of texture to the dish as well. The eggplant is treated like a protein and becomes a great accompaniment or side dish for lamb, chicken, grilled fish-or even a cheese plate.

Marrakesh N.6 – Recipe by Bertrand Chemel, from “The Art of Blending” by Lior Lev Sercarz

Makes 6-8 side-dish sized servings

Ingredients

6 plum tomatoes
3 long Japanese eggplants or 2 medium globe eggplants (about 2 pounds)
1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
3 garlic cloves with skin, lightly crushed
3 rosemary sprigs
4 sprigs lemon thyme
6 sage leaves
3/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Marrakesh N.6 spice blend

Instructions

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Cut a small X in the end of each tomato and drop them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and drain, then submerge them in the ice water until cool. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes, then cut them into 1/4-inch cubes.

2. Peel the eggplants, halve them lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes.

3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the eggplant and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until browned all over, about 7 minutes. Add the honey and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Stir in the crushed garlic and herbs and deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the Marrakesh spice blend. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook eggplant, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is softened, about 6 to 7 minutes.

4. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and add the diced tomatoes to the skillet. Cook the tomatoes over
medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Discard the garlic and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Place the eggplant on a platter, pour the tomatoes and any accumulated liquid on top and serve.