Mediterranean cooking, which focuses on vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and fragrant spices, is a smart way to get healthy. It's also delicious, as evidenced by this rich, sweet-tart salad of spiced eggplant, pine nuts and raisins. 

Mediterranean Eggplant Salad

Toast whole spices in a heavy bottom pan over medium until they are fragrant and deepen in color. Stir frequently and watch carefully to avoid burning. Remove them from pan and cool, then grind in a coffee grinder or spice mill.

Serves 2 to 4

  • 1 medium eggplant (¾ to 1 pound), peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 1 teaspoon each toasted, ground cumin, coriander and fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup red wine, sherry, or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pan wide enough to hold eggplant in a single layer. Saute eggplant over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it starts to soften and turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add toasted, ground spices and toss well with eggplant.

Lower heat and add vinegar, honey, and water. Stir well and let simmer until eggplant is cooked through and liquid almost evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add pine nuts, raisins, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well and cool.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top.

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