Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eggplant: A Vegetarian's Best Friend

It wasn't until I stopped eating meat that I discovered eggplant. Now, I love it. It's just so versatile. You can use it as a meat substitute, stuff it, cut it up and put it in anything, or bread it and smother it with cheese to make Eggplant Parm. In this recipe, however, the eggplant really shines on its own. This recipe works well for the holiday season because of its colors, but would also work well in Spring and Summer because of the fresh flavors. It can be used as a side, but I prefer it as a beautiful main dish. 

Cumin Scented Eggplant with Pomegranate and Cilantro
5 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
2 lbs. eggplant (about 2 medium) cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2 garlic cloves, minced
pomegranate syrup (recipe follows)
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Stir salt into water in a large bowl or casserole dish until dissolved. Soak eggplant for an hour, flipping over halfway through the soak. Drain and pat dry. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Heat a thin coating of oil in a large skillet and saute eggplant over medium-high heat until there are brown spots and softened (about 2 minutes per side). Do this in batches adding more oil as needed until all are done.

Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Mix cumin and cayenne pepper together and sprinkle over the eggplant. Put in the oven and roast until golden and cooked through (about 30 minutes).

While eggplant is roasting, create the pomegranate syrup: combine 1 cup pomegranate juice, 12 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. 
Stir until sugar completely dissolves. Allow to cook on medium-high for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and the syrup will thicken as it cools. 

Also, mix together pomegranate seeds, cilantro, and garlic in a separate, small bowl. 

Once eggplant is roasted, remove from oven and sprinkle with the cilantro, pomegranate seed, and garlic mixture, then drizzle with pomegranate syrup. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this recipe Erica! We made this with our Christmas dinner and it was a charmer. Sweet, yet tangy, perfect touch of spicy too. Certainly would be a great main meal, as you said. This is a winner!