Slice the eggplant (aubergine) into 1cm thick rounds, then cut into 4 – see note.
Place the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add the white wine vinegar, sugar, mint, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the white wine evaporates, then reduce the heat to low. Cook at low heat, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a serving dish.
Add the garlic clove halves and toss with a spoon to combine. Allow to cool for a minimum of half an hour, then discard the garlic cloves.
Serve at room temperature or cold from the fridge – buon appetito.
Tip: Melanzane in agrodolce (sweet and sour eggplant/aubergine) can be refrigerated for 2-3 days and make a perfect addition to salads and sandwiches.
Note: In Italy, there are excellent varieties of melanzane (eggplant/aubergine) that are rounded and a vibrant purple colour such as ‘Rosa Bianca’, ‘Violetta di Firenze’, ‘Bianca Sfumata di Rosa’, and ‘Prosperosa’. These varieties have a more delicate flavour and are not bitter. In Australia, I choose Graffiti eggplant (also known as Sicilian eggplant) – they are less seedy and also not bitter. The Italian varieties above and Graffiti eggplant do not need to be salted and rinsed before cooking.
If you are using a black-skinned eggplant, however, you will need to salt the eggplant. To do this, slice the eggplant as per step 1, sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and layer in a colander. Set aside for 20 minutes to maximum of 1 hour. Rinse under cold water, drain and use paper towel to pat dry.