Cumin-Scented Eggplant

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photo by: Misha Gravenor

Great combination of flavors for Rosh Hashannah. Super sweet and savory for a sweet New Year.
5 cups water
2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

Pomegranate molasses (for drizzling, alternatively use 1 tablespoon molasses mixed with 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice), optional (it’s delicious without the drizzle too)
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Stir 5 cups water and 2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt in large bowl to dissolve salt. Add eggplant slices. Place plate on eggplant to submerge; let soak 1 hour. Drain eggplant; pat dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté eggplant until brown in spots and softened, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding more oil by tablespoonfuls as needed. Arrange eggplant in single layer on baking sheet.
Mix cumin and cayenne. Sprinkle eggplant with cumin mixture. Roast until golden and cooked through, 30 minutes.
Remove eggplant from oven and sprinkle with garlic. Arrange eggplant on platter and drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and cilantro over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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