My kids are counting down the dwindling days until Christmas, so I am very aware that it’s approaching soon. This year has been pretty calm and measured– the tree is up, almost all of the gift list is done, and we’ve somehow made arrangements to spend time with many of our friends and loved ones for the holidays. (Helps to stretch it out over a month!)
To help you with your holiday efficiency, here’s a dish that could double as an edible decoration. This is one of my favorite dishes, vegetarian or not– it’s 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”. I wish.) 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.
This is a lovely vegetarian entree or centerpiece appetizer or side. 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, and also vegan.
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce in Plenty
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!! Happy, healthy holidays to you and your family!
Like what you see? Please join me on Facebook at The Doctor’s Spicebox