Moroccan Honey Glazed Eggplant
Meltingly soft Moroccan honey glazed eggplant, covered with a sweet and spicy honey and harissa sauce. Vegetarian and gluten free!
If you asked me 10 months ago if I used honey frequently, I would have said no. Honey? No way.
I mean, it’s always in my kitchen (both the generic kind and the super fancy Philadelphia Bee Company raw honey from bees in my neighborhood — because yes, they actually sell the honey by zip code so you can get the one closest to you), but do I use it much? Nope.
I might put in tea when I’m sick, but that’s about it… right?
And then you have a baby. A baby who eats everything you eat for dinner, thanks to baby-led weaning. A baby who, because of the risk of botulism, is not supposed to consume any honey or anything made with honey, until his first birthday.
And suddenly it dawns on you that yes, you do actually use honey frequently… perhaps not in baking, but most certainly in cooking.
Sweet and spicy… sweet and sour… such wonderful savory pairings. Things marinated in honey. Things stewed in honey. Recipes with just a tiny bit of honey to bring out some unexpected sweetness. Anything made with honey mustard.
But without a doubt, the thing I miss the most of all is this Moroccan honey glazed eggplant. Have you ever had those kind of dinners where you’re not entirely sure how something is going to turn out and you take one bite expecting it to be average and are just completely blown away? That’s how this eggplant was for me.
I’m an eggplant fan and definitely enjoy the sweet-spicy combination so I thought this would be good, but it was outstanding.
Soft eggplant, stewed until it nearly melts in your mouth. Sweet and sticky from the honey, a kick from the harissa. Minced ginger, the warmth of cumin. Just a slight sour tang from some fresh lemon juice. A handful of fresh cilantro tossed on top for garnish.
Serve with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread and a big pile of sauteed greens and call it dinner. And lunch the next day, if you have any left, because it’s just as delicious cold as it is warm.
Oh, and P.S. — this Moroccan honey glazed eggplant is also vegetarian and gluten free, but you won’t even realize it (just check for hiding gluten in the harissa).
Mostly, I’ve been feeling a little sad about Ryan’s upcoming first birthday. An entire year will have come and gone in the blink of an eye and my baby will no longer be a baby.
But knowing that in just a few short weeks, this eggplant can go into our regular dinner rotation? That certainly makes a bittersweet moment just a little sweeter.
Moroccan Honey Glazed Eggplant
Meltingly soft eggplant, glazed with a sweet and spicy honey and harissa sauce. Vegetarian and gluten free!
- 2 large globe eggplants, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon harissa (substitute with a pinch of chili flakes or a slash of hot sauce if you can’t find harissa)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, if you’re not a cilantro fan)
- Spread the slices of eggplant on a towel and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Allow the eggplant to sweat for 15 minutes, then wipe the pieces dry with a paper towel.
- Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of each slice of eggplant with olive oil and cook, without overlapping the slices, until well browned on both sides. Remove the slices to a plate and set aside; repeat with remaining slices.
- Combine the honey and lemon juice with 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl, stirring until the honey is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and ginger to the now-empty skillet and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, followed by the spices. Stir in the honey-lemon mixture and bring to a boil.
- Place the eggplant in the pan, overlapping as needed, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure all pieces are coated with sauce. Continue to heat until the sauce has turned into a thick glaze and the eggplant is soft.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.
Inspired by a recipe in Modern Moroccan*