This is my contribution for this month’s #LetsLunch, a virtual monthly potluck on Twitter. The theme this month is “edible decorations for the festive season.”
I love the idea of edible decorations, but couldn’t come up with any tree or star shaped recipes that inspired me. Instead, I thought of one of my favorite dishes, the roasted eggplant that graces the cover of Yotam Ottolenghi’s beautiful cookbook, Plenty. (Incidentally, I am such a huge fan of Ottolenghi’s simple but divine vegetarian cooking that I would fly to London just to have lunch at one of his “delis”.) The pomegranate arils (seeds) that garnish these simple roasted eggplants look like little rubies and alongside the fresh herbs, well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
These eggplants graced my table as a side dish at Thanksgiving and will also be on the buffet at my holiday cocktail party this year. You can spoon it out delicately onto crackers, pita chips, triangles of sliced pita, or toasts, or just dig in with some pita chips. The original recipe calls for a buttermilk-based dressing; mine is topped with a garlicky tahini sauce, which makes this into a deconstructed baba ghanouj.
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate
Recipe inspired by Ottolenghi’s Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce
Serves: 12 as an appetizer
Two large, long eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tahini
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
juice of half a lemon
2-3 tablespoons of Italian parsley, in fine ribbons
ground sumac or za’atar (a few pinches for garnish)
arils/seeds of one pomegranate
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Wash and dry eggplants. Cut in half lengthwise and place, cut side up, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a paring knife to cut deep diagonal slices into the flesh, but not through the skin, of the eggplant halves. Repeat at a 45 degree angle in the other direction until you have diamonds.
3. Brush each eggplant half with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle on a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork, but the eggplant halves still maintain their shape.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Add salt to taste.
6. Arrange eggplants on a platter, spoon sauce onto each half, then top with pomegrante arils, parsley and ground sumac or za’atar.
7. Serve with triangles of pita, pita chips, or toasts.
Thanks for coming by! If you enjoyed this, please leave a comment and/or share this with your friends.
Please see these other fabulous contributions to #LetsLunch:
Lisa’s Chocolate Almond Tree on Monday Morning Cooking Club
Anne Marie’s Ornament Sandwiches on Sandwich Surprise
Betty Ann’s Mini Bibingka on Asian in America
Lucy’s Peppermint Candy Tray at A Cook and Her Books
Pat’s Lemongrass and Pandan Sugar Cookies at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook
Tammy’s Chewy Gingerbread Cookies at Insatiable Munchies
Vivian’s Festive Gingerbread Cookies at Vivian Pei
Linda’s Merry Kale Trees at Free Range Cookies
Grace’s Spiced Shortbread at HapaMama
Annabelle’s Pecan Caramels at Glass of Fancy
Karen’s Christmas Baskets at Geofooding