This Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce and Pomegranate is a blend of elegance and simplicity, remarkable taste and contrasting textures. After a walk on a bitter cold morning, my thoughts oscillated between cold weather images on screen—think Zhivago emerging from the mountains to find Lara in Yuriatin—and tropical weather treats. Taking comfort in the fact that I was not nearly as cold as dear Dr. Zhivago, I found myself searching for hot weather fantasies. I came upon this recipe in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli chef and cookbook author now based in London. His recipes are all imbued with light and sunshine. In this dish, the eggplant is roasted then topped with a tangy buttermilk sauce. Garnished with sweet crimson pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs, it makes a dish as beautiful as it is delicious. Don’t be frightened off by the need for fresh pomegranate seeds. Removing them from the fruit is not as difficult as it might appear and certainly worth the work. (I’ve included a link to a how-to video in the recipe notes.) We ate ours by the fire with dear friends Saturday evening. Accompanied by whole wheat pita bread, Onion Soup and a steamy bowl of rice, this meal takes the chill out of the coldest of days.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
ROASTED EGGPLANT WITH BUTTERMILK SAUCE & POMEGRANATE
Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 medium or 8 small eggplants
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pomegranate
For the sauce:
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh chives or other fresh herbs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, cutting straight through the green stalk. Leave the stalk intact. Use a small sharp knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin. Repeat at a 45-degree angle to get diamond-shaped patterns.
- Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast eggplant halves for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down completely.
- While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate in half horizontally.* Working over a bowl, remove all the seeds. Discard skin and membrane.
- To make the sauce, whisk together the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- To serve, spoon the sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chives or other fresh herbs.