Roasted Eggplant with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
Yield: 6 to 8 | Total time: 40 min
I recently cooked for a gathering of about 20 ladies and wanted to make pretty but flavorful food. On the menu: green pea and mint dip, crudités with anchovy dipping sauce, crabapple cakes with ginger, and soft polenta with mascarpone, among other goodies. And this eggplant dip. I find that roasting eggplant and puréeing it with other ingredients often surprises and delights even the most ardent eggplant-haters. And this version, with the tang and brightness of pomegranate molasses, is no exception. It's an easy make-ahead dish to bring to a dinner party or to have on hand for a quick bite. Smear it on bread and top with yogurt or a drizzle of olive oil for a light snack.
The supporting star here is pomegranate molasses--pomegranate juice that has been reduced down to a thick syrup--an ingredient often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. I love its intense flavor as well as the tang it offers over sweetness. You can make it at home or buy at your local specialty market or online at Kalustyans. The recipe is delicious without the molasses but adding it offers extra depth of flavor.
Don't despair if you have lots of leftover pomegranate molasses. Here are some ways to brighten up your repertoire:
1. Whisk some pomegranate molasses into your salad dressing; balance it out with fresh orange juice.
2. Try Yotam Ottolenghi's Split Wheat and Swiss Chard with Pomegranate Molasses
3. Stir some molasses into your next marinade or BBQ sauce.
4. Stir it into vegetable dishes such as this Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses from Food and Wine.
5. Try it in dessert, such as in Laurie Constantino's Recipe for Bananas Roasted with Pomegranate Molasses Syrup.
- 2 large, firm eggplant, such as Italian
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, divided
- Garnishes: Toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds and pomegranate arils; drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- For Serving: Radishes, celery, apples, crostini
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil). Place eggplants on the parchment-lined sheets and roast for about 40 minutes or until eggplant is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.
- Slice eggplants lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor (or blender). Add tahini, walnuts (or pine nuts), lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses, if using, and half of the cilantro leaves. Pulse until blended. Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon, or molasses, as needed.
- Mound dip onto a serving dish and garnish with pine nuts, the remaining cilantro leaves, and pomegranate arils. Add a drizzle of olive oil or more pomegranate molasses, if desired. If making ahead, chill the eggplant mixture and garnish just before serving. Serve with radishes, celery, apples, and/or crostini.
Date Published: October 7, 2014
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.