Apple and Eggplant With Honey and Chili. Photo by Shani Brill
In the Sephardi and Mizrahi Rosh Hashanah tradition, there is a blessing at the start of the meal that says “May it be a year as sweet as honey.” Honey flows like water on my family’s table. It is used as a dip for the apples, drizzled over beans and pomegranate seeds —not only for the blessing, but for the pleasurable sweetness and the depth of its flavor. This year, so many varieties of honey have landed on my worktop like tamarisk or saltcedar, brassica, and wildflower. Each is more spectacular than the next. When shopping for honey, look for the small bee farms and artisanal producers determined to create and offer a plethora of local and seasonal honey.
2 eggplants, sliced into 1-cm (0.4-inches) thick rings
Olive oil, for greasing
6 whole Granny Smith apples, cored
½ cup / 120 ml honey
2 cups / 480ml thick sheep milk yogurt
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons red hot chili peppers, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Place the eggplant slices in a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and bake until the eggplant slices are golden and soft, about 15 minutes for each side. Set aside and keep the oven turned on.
Meanwhile, slice the apples horizontally into ½-inch / 1-cm thick slices. Arrange in an even layer on a baking pan and season lightly with salt. Mix a little honey and olive oil in a bowl and brush the apple slices. Roast 6 minutes on each side. Set aside.
Prepare a honey-yogurt sauce: Mix the yogurt with the remaining honey, chopped garlic and hot chili pepper into a thick sauce. Season with a little salt, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt or honey, if necessary.
To assemble the dish when ready to serve: Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C and warm up the eggplant and apple slices. On each plate, arrange a slice of eggplant and a slice of apple and drizzle a teaspoon of honey-yogurt sauce on top. Place another slice of eggplant and top with a slice of apple, and drizzle more honey-yogurt sauce on top.