Mint is a grossly misunderstood spice. We are used to having it in toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, or even in chocolate candies, but actually it is a bright and sweetly refreshing spice with a subtle presence. As a culinary herb, it goes well together with basil and parsley, and oftentimes Italians use it in combination with both. Like in this recipe, mint’s coolness can be used to cut the intensity of a rich sauce and to sweetly compliment the acidity of the tomatoes. In Italy mint grows everywhere, wild and untamed, but it is also heavily planted to prevent erosion. Next to flowers and vines it is used decoratively, too. If you are inspired to use mint in cooking, you can try for example panzanella (tomato and bread salad). Alternatively you can enjoy some mint after dinner by tossing it together with frutti di bosco (forest fruit).
2 eggplants, cut into cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
300 gr cherry tomatoes, halved
400 gr swordfish, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
casareccia or other pasta corta of your choice
a handful of mint leaves
Cut the eggplants into cubes and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on them. Set them aside for 1 hour. To remove the sea salt, shake the cubes gently. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant cubes thoroughly over a medium heat for ca. 10-15 minutes. Set them aside and let them dry on a paper towel.
In a separate pan, saute the minced garlic and add the halved cherry tomatoes into the mix. Cook for a few minutes and then add the already fried eggplant, and the swordfish cubes. Continue frying for another 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix it right away with the sauce and serve immediately. Garnish each plate with fresh mint leaves. Any leftovers can be enjoyed cold the next day.