A taste of bliss. Smoky eggplant salad with pomegranate molasses, spices, plenty of lemon, slowly cooked pine nuts, tahini, and really good olive oil. It tastes so indulgent despite being such a light dish. With smoky, sweet, fresh, and hearty flavors, each bite is terribly comforting. This salad is great spread on hot bread, but it’s so good that one can simply eat it on its own. Another perfect plate for the summer.
Pomegranate molasses is a sweet and tart pomegranate juice reduction used for salads, marinades, dips, sauces, and the list goes on. You should be able to find it at your local Middle Eastern food store or online. I recommend going with a Lebanese variety. You can also simmer down your own pomegranate juice to make a syrupy reduction.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4 AS A STARTER
For the Salad
2 large/1000 gr. eggplants
4 small cucumbers, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sumac
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt, or to your taste
good grinding freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
For the Tahini Sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons water, as needed
1. Wrap the eggplants (separately) with just enough aluminum foil to cover them. Place the eggplants directly over high fires while rotating them occasionally with a pair of tongs. Char for about 30 minutes or until the inner flesh is very tender. Carefully remove the foil and set aside to cool completely. Once the eggplants are fully cooled, gently peel off the skin and place the flesh in a bowl. Mash the eggplant with a fork just enough to break up the pieces.
2. For the tahini sauce, combine all of the ingredients and mix together until smooth. Add water as needed if the sauce is too thick.
3. Combine the eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, seasoning, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses in a serving bowl. Toss together to combine the flavors, and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil, a bit of pomegranate molasses, and the tahini sauce. Top with plenty of lightly fried/toasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and chopped parsley.