Burnt Eggplant with Lemon and Pomegranate Seeds

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Have I told you lately that I Love Yotam Ottolenghi’s books? I absolutely do. His recipes are something out of this world, and I think it might be in part due to genetic memory, that I’m so drawn to the Middle Eastern food. Something is so familiar and homey in the flavors:- the smell of spices, the combinations of herbs, they are  like memory long forgotten  that I try so hard to recreate.
In my family we make a few different salads/dips with burnt eggplant.  However, mint, lemon zest and pomegranate were the ingredients that intrigued me to try this recipe.
And so, I present another fabulously delicious and simple Ottolenghi recipe,  adapted from “Jerusalem – A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. However, my adaptation does not use as much olive oil as the original and added a little bit of tahini, but you don’t have to.
The deep smoky flavor of the eggplant meshed  with a nutty tahini is complemented perfectly by the freshness of mint and lemon with a bright pomegranate zing. Truly a marriage made in heaven. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ingredients

  • 4 large Eggplants
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 1- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (original recipe called for 5)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (optional, not part o original)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Seeds from 1/2 of a large pomegranate
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Prepare the eggplant.  There are three ways that you can get that burnt, smoky flavor.
  • First:- Preheat your oven to 500 F, lightly oil a bake pan, place eggplant into the baking pan and pierce the skin in a few places. Roast until the eggplant becomes soft and the skin blisters.
    • Second:- Grill the eggplant on the outside grill.
    • Third – the one that works best for me, but a little messy:- If you have a gas range or cook top. Line the area around the burner with aluminum foil, because the eggplant will release a lot of juice. Place the eggplant on the grid with a medium -high flame and cook turning around until the flesh is very soft and the skin turns black and blistered.
    • Place the eggplant in the colander with a weight on top (a plate topped with a saucepan filled with water works for me) to drain most of the liquid.
    • After about 15 minutes of draining, peel the skin off the eggplant and chop or mash the flesh until it’s a smooth consistency.
    • Place the eggplant into a bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, tahini,herbs and pomegranate seeds.
    • Chill in the refrigerator for an hour, taste and adjust the taste with salt and/or pepper as needed.
    • To serve, you can drizzle a little more olive oil on top. This eggplant goes great with pita chips and “Mary’s gone Crackers” sesame crackers.
    • Bon Appetit!

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