Updated Nov 05, 2015 @ 4:15 pm
Dean & DeLuca
Credit: Courtesy

Figs may seem like a summer delicacy, but we’re here to tell you that they’re just as magical in a fall side dish. When combined with eggplant and honey, this aromatic little fruit has the power to outshine the centuries-old Thanksgiving tradition of green beans and Brussels sprouts. Tetsuya Sakai, the executive chef of fine foods purveyor Dean & DeLuca’s Japan location, uses the market’s own ingredients (especially olive oils and honeys) to create a sweet and savory side that will rival even the best sweet potato casserole at this year’s Turkey Day feast. See for yourself below.

Marinated Eggplant & Caramelized Fig with White Balsamic Vinegar

Serves: 4-5



2 tbsp Leonardi Balsama bianco vinegar ($24;
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp acacia honey
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Eggplant & caramelized fig with white balsamic vinegar

1 lb Japanese eggplant
5 each fresh figs (Sakai prefers black mission figs or substitute brown Turkish figs)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp acacia honey
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced


1. Whisk all marinade ingredients and set aside.
2. Cut figs in a half or quarter them, depending on the size.
3. Cut the eggplant in 1 ½ inch cubes, trying to keep the same size as the figs (do not peel).
4. Heat 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat with rosemary until fragrant.
5. Turn heat to medium-high heat and quickly sauté eggplant in rosemary oil (do not sauté too long otherwise the eggplant will lose its shape and texture).
6. Place sautéed eggplant on paper towels to drain excess oil and cool slightly.
7. After eggplant has cooled toss with marinade (from above).
8. In a separate sauté pan, heat 3 tbsp of honey and let it caramelize slightly, approximately 2-3 minutes.
9. After honey has caramelized, add cut figs and gently toss or stir to combine (toss quickly to combine careful not to overcook them so they do not lose too much texture).
10. Gently combine honey glazed figs and marinated eggplant.