Braised Carrots with Greek Yogurt & Fresh Mint

This gorgeous side dish is freshened up for spring with creamy yogurt and fragrant mint.

Ingredients:
1 bunch carrots, greens removed and reserved for another use, then peeled and cut into large matchsticks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely-chopped mint

Method:
1. Melt butter in a large heavy sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, cover, and braise, stirring occasionally, until carrots are fork-tender, 20–30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle carrots with lemon juice and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and finish the dish with a healthy scoop of sheep’s milk yogurt and scattered mint over the top.

Grilled Eggplant with Lemon & Mint

Tossed with fresh mint for added brightness, this barbecued eggplant boasts a wonderfully-rich and smoky flavor.

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplants
Olive oil, for basting

For dressing:
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons very coarsely chopped mint
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Prepare the dressing: Whisk olive oil, lemon zest and juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Add in sugar, salt and pepper and check for taste (it should be fairly sweet). Add in half of the chopped mint and set aside.

2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into about 8 thin slices about ¼-inch thick, then brush each liberally with olive oil. Lay on the grill, cooking each side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred.

3. Arrange the slices on a large platter and spoon dressing over top. Cover and set aside to allow eggplant to soak up the dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tomato Fritters

A favorite throughout the Mediterranean, these delightfully-crisp nibbles are a wonderful pairing for a summer salad.

Ingredients:
3 cups ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, or a mixture of both, grated or finely chopped
3 purple scallions, purple and tender green parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1¼-1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Method:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the grated or chopped tomatoes, scallions, herbs, cinnamon if using, salt and pepper. Combine 1¼ cups of the flour and the baking powder in a small bowl and add it to the tomatoes, mixing well. Add flour if necessary to give the mixture the consistency of a thick batter. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

2. Heat about 1 ½ inches of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, drop a tablespoon of the batter at a time into the skillet and fry the tomato fritters on both sides until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Feta

A true homage to summer, this salad from The Splendid Table is cool, crisp and juicy.

Ingredients:
2 medium English cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1½ cups ripe Tuscan melon, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
¼ cup mint leaves, torn
1 heaping tablespoon finely-chopped scallion tops
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon high-quality olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt, roll up the pieces in a double thickness of paper towel and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Unwrap and pat dry.

2. Rub a serving bowl with the garlic. Add the cucumber, melon, mint, scallions, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil. Gently combine. Season to taste with more oil or vinegar, salt and pepper.

3. Top with the crumbled cheese and eat immediately.

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