Dining Tip: Blackberry Farm's Honey-Glazed Eggplant with Fresh Cheese

Celebrate the coming of better quality produce with this elegant dish inspired by the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
Dining Tip: Blackberry Farm's Honey-Glazed Eggplant with Fresh Cheese
This eggplant and sweet bell pepper pairing achieves a lovely sweet-and-sour balance. (Ryan Liebe)
Apr 1, 2019

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the Sept. 30, 2018, issue of Wine Spectator, "The New Las Vegas."

Recipe courtesy of Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.

Honey-Glazed Eggplant With Pickled Peppers and Dill Brebis

• 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 tablespoon aleppo pepper
• 6 Blackberry Farm pickled ramps, thinly sliced
• Handful fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
• 1/4 cup toasted, crushed hazelnuts
• Canola or other neutral high-heat vegetable oil

For the Dill Brebis

• 1 cup yogurt
• 1 cup Blackberry Farm Brebis (ricotta can be substituted)
• 1/2 cup dill leaves, loosely packed
• 3 whole Blackberry Farm pickled ramps

For the Pickled Peppers

• 1 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup white wine vinegar
• 12 miniature sweet bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced crosswise
• 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
• 1/4 cup pickled ramp liquid

Note: Blackberry Farm produces and sells a wide range of goods, many of which are available for purchase online at blackberryfarmshop.com.

Prepare the Dill Brebis: Puree the dill, yogurt and ramps in a blender, about 1 minute. The yogurt will become thin and green. Add the brebis; pulse until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate minimum 2 hours.

Prepare the Pickled Peppers: Place the sugar, white wine vinegar, sliced peppers and aleppo pepper in a nonreactive saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a light syrupy consistency, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the pickled ramp liquid, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Prepare the Honey-Glazed Eggplant: Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. (There will be extra.) Sprinkle with salt, allow to weep in a colander for 30 minutes, then pat dry. Meanwhile, remove the Dill Brebis from the fridge, allowing it to come to room temperature. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, sear the eggplant until golden-brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan, glaze each round with honey, sprinkle with aleppo pepper and allow to drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate.

Assemble and garnish: Spoon 3 tablespoons of Dill Brebis onto each plate. Place an eggplant round on top, garnish with sliced ramps, Pickled Peppers, toasted hazelnuts and fresh mint, and serve. (To serve as a main dish, increase Dill Brebis amount and add another eggplant slice.) Serves 4 as entrée or 8 as appetizer or side.

Pair with a Grenache-based red like Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Cooking Cheese

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