My new favorite thing to eat is eggplants. It was something that I did not love as a child and have not given it much of a break as an adult, but all my preconceived notions are now gone. This easy rustic recipe will convert even the skeptical ones of the bunch about this beautiful glossy purple vegetable. The buttermilk sauce is excellent on the eggplant or slathered over any other grilled vegetables, lamb chops, etc. I am using fat free Greek-style yogurt these days, but whole milk would taste even better. It is a lovely side dish or serve it with some crusty bread or pita and you have a great little lunch. I served this pretty platter on a dinner buffet. Big hit because of it’s taste and beauty. I made it ahead of time because it more flavorful at room temperature, which freed me up for other dishes that needed to be prepped right before.
This is my adaptation from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe from his great vegetable cookbook, Plenty. He uses za’tar spice at the end to sprinkle over the buttermilk sauce. I did not have it, so I just stuck with the thyme and pomegranates, but then added some pomegranate molasses because it was handy and I thought the sweet tang would add something to the dish. This worked out great.
In my attempt to imitate Nigella’s scene of a late night raid of the fridge, I pulled out the cold eggplant that was beautifully slathered with buttermilk sauce and coated it with copious amounts of sriracha sauce. Oh, was this so fabulous. I washed it all down with an ice cold beer. I certainly was not as sexy as Nigella doing this. First of all, I had no makeup on and she wears red lip stick for her late night raid. Let’s not even mention my worn-out night shirt I was wearing. I did moan a bit like she does, because it was that tasty. Frankly, it is way too hard to see what is going on in the kitchen with just light from the fridge. How does she do that? This was all done for the sake of art, by the way. LOL.
- 2 large and long eggplants
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons thyme leaves
- sea salt and black pepper
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- 9 tablespoons buttermilk
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, cutting straight through the green stalk (the stalk is for the look; don’t eat it).
- 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 a diamond-shaped pattern.
- Place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush them with olive oil—keep on brushing until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh.
- Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful, and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.
- To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves without covering the stalks. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with thyme leaves as well.
Enjoy this super easy and healthy recipe. Make the buttermilk sauce all on it’s own. Fabulous. Let me know about your best Nigella imitation. Meanwhile, I will try to get a life. LOL.
Pull up a chair, Elizabeth