Monday, May 28, 2012

Moroccan Spiced Eggplant with Pomegranate Glaze

The first time I made this dish, I ate it all in one sitting, an entire eggplant, gone. Gulp! And there was no photo to share, because not only did I inhale it, but because the half moon slices of eggplant were exceptionally caramelized - delicious! - they were most unphotogenic.  So I had to make the dish again. Really, the sacrifices I make as a blogger!

Inspired by Sassy Radish's pomegranate glazed eggplant, my version added some spices and fresh herbs, rounding out the dish as more Moroccan than Middle Eastern. But as her post described, Olga had quite a feast the night she made her dish and I seriously wonder whether her slices of eggplant were indeed 1/8 of an inch and cooked for 45 minutes. For my first attempt, the slices were 1/4 of an inch and cooked a little under 40 minutes and some of them were charred, albeit, tasty bits of eggplant that needed to be scraped off the baking pan!

In my second attempt at this dish, I cubed the eggplant and tossed it with the glaze and lined the baking sheet with foil. I also doubled the proportions because this was so incredibly good that I hoped my personal restraint would allow there to be leftovers since this is just as good at room temperature as hot out of the oven.

When - not if - you fall in love with this preparation for eggplant, you will realize the necessity of having pomegranate molasses as a permanent addition to your pantry. You will notice that it adding it to salad dressing, roasted vegetables and anything else that passes under your nose just makes life sparkle, like pixie dust or disco balls. No need to thank me, I am only passing along the good news. Do take a moment to give gratitude and bow down to the Mediterranean peoples who created this amazing condiment!

Moroccan Spiced Eggplant with Pomegranate Glaze (inspired by Sassy Radish)

2 large eggplants
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (make your own)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh mint, loosely packed, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut ends of eggplants and cut into 1/2 inch slices and then cube into 1/2 inch cubes. Combine pomegranate molasses, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and salt and beat with fork until it emulsifies. In mortar and pestle grind cumin, cinnamon and red pepper flakes until cumin seeds are roughly ground. Add to glaze.  In large bowl toss eggplant with glaze to coat. Spread eggplant on foil lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes until soft and edges of eggplant begin to brown and crisp. Remove (carefully!) from baking sheet and toss with minced mint and cilantro. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Merguez Sausage with Hallumi and Flame Roasted Peppers at More Than Burnt Toast
Roasted Grapes, Fresh Ricotta and Thyme on Grilled Bread at Very Culinary
Caramelized Orange and Chocolate Layer Cake at ECurry!

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