Roasted Eggplant with Buttermilk Dressing

The following recipe is only very slightly adapted from one in Yotam Ottolenghi's extraordinary, inventive 2014 cookbook Plenty. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Take 2 large eggplants and cut them each in half lengthwise. Score each half with a sharp knife but be careful to not cut all the way through the eggplants. Place the eggplant on one or two baking sheets (depending on size) lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Brush the eggplant halves with plenty of olive oil; use up to 1/3 full cup for the four pieces. Now sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and fresh or dried thyme leaves. Garlic powder is an optional add-on. Roast for 40 minutes or until the eggplant is nicely browned and extremely soft. You can test this by pressing with a blunt knife - the end should sink through a soft mass of melting eggplant deliciousness.

When the eggplants have fully cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the dressing. In a bowl whisk together: 9 T. buttermilk, 2 T. olive oil, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, a large pinch of salt and 1-2 T. minced garlic. Taste for saltiness, adding more if needed.

Serve the eggplants lightly drizzled with pomegranate molasses and generously drizzled with the buttermilk dressing. No pom molasses in the pantry? Skip it or substitute with a handful of pomegranate seeds as originally suggested by Ottolenghi.

The roasted eggplant makes a substantial appetizer course, served with warm triangles of pita bread, or functions as an entree: above, with a rice and red lentil pilaf, green salad and shaved onions, sliced hot green chilies and diced radishes as garnishes.


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