Sunday, September 13, 2009

pomegranate molasses glazed eggplant

pomegranate molasses glazed eggplant

I got so excited cooking this, that I almost completely forgot to take the prep pictures. Which should tell you that you should, if you’re an eggplant fan, go ahead and make this right away. Consider it a direct missive. Waste no time – it is eggplant season and will be such through October.

This was borne out of, well, instinct, really. I was making dinner for a friend on Friday night and our initial plan was to make a stir-fry with vegetables and tofu and serve it over brown rice. But we got carried away – we made that along with leek confit, blackberry pie, and this pomegranate molasses glazed eggplant. What started out as a simple Friday night meal turned into a feast of sorts. And this was the surprise hit.

I wasn’t prepared to cook eggplant and when my friend picked it up, I automatically nodded, but did I have a plan? No.

In fact, I was all shades of disappointment with myself because I didn’t have pie crust waiting for me in the freezer, as I normally do, because I happen to get crazy last-minute urges to bake pies. Then again, it’s safe to say that I happen to have an abnormal love of pie. In fact, I have pies I’ve recently made lined up in the queue that I need to write about and I’m embarrassingly behind.

pomegranate molasses glazed eggplant

In any case, when I was amidst baking the pie (with pre-made crust, see I’m not above it!), prepping the stir-fry, and caramelizing leeks, I suddenly had an idea; I was going to bake the eggplant in an olive oil and pomegranate molasses glaze. I was going to add a spoonful of chopped ginger, a clove of garlic and a sprinkle of salt. And then, I was going to let it cook until the eggplant would get soft and impossibly buttery. That, was my plan and that’s what I stuck with.

I was a bit worried because, the whole dish was concocted in mere seconds. I had a flash of inspiration, but I had no idea what the results were going to be. But after my friend ate the near entirety of the dish, while I managed to only get a couple of forkfuls, I knew this improvisation was a hit. I loved my forkfuls and clearly, so did he.

The next day, I got to thinking about how sometimes when we improvise in the kitchen – we succeed. And other times – we fail. Both are good and necessary processes by which we learn, and yet somehow we get burned and scarred by our failures. My first-ever pie crust, an epic fail, caused me to avoid making my own crust for years. But once I got to do it again, I haven’t looked back since. Time and time again, I have to remind myself that should one of the dishes fail, all we have to do is move on, try it again and just realize that sometimes, our tempered eggs will cook, our souffl├ęs might not rise, our cakes might sink.

The worst thing – is that we try it all over again. And if that gets us back into the kitchen, is that really quite so bad?


Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Eggplant

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, sliced in half length-wise and then sliced thinly into 1/8 inch slices
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup really good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1 tsp flaky sea salt (I like Maldon)
2 tsp chopped cilantro

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a baking dish arrange your eggplant slices.

2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the eggplant. Alternatively, you can just add them into the baking dish instead, one by one.

3. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (check for doneness – you want your eggplant to get soft and reduce in size, and the edges of the baking dish should caramelize nicely). Serve immediately garnished with cilantro.

Serves 2.

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21 Comments

  • 1
    Emily said:

    Wow, this looks delicious, in an odd way. Definitely one of those “Well, let’s just see what happens” meals. I think it’s time to take a trip to Sahadi’s in search of pomegranate molasses. I have to ask, where did buy your molasses?

    September 13, 2009 10:10 pm
  • 2

    Yum I love eggplant and experimenting in the kitchen. It’s half the fun! I”m curious to know – what do pomegranate molasses taste like? And what else do you use them for? I think I’ll also be picking some up at Sahadis!

    September 13, 2009 10:28 pm
  • 3
    radish said:

    emily and nithya – i got mine at Sahadi’s also!
    nithya – it’s a great glaze for heartier meals, like root vegetables: carrots, rutabagas, turnips. I believe you’re a vegetarian, but if you’re ever cooking meat, it’s great on that too. I like to make dressings with it also. It’s really tangy, so the sky is the limit as it adds a nice dimension.

    September 13, 2009 10:33 pm
  • 4
    Panya said:

    I’m not a fan of eggplant, but I LOVE that bowl! ;-)

    September 13, 2009 10:51 pm
  • 5
    Eralda said:

    I love this dish! I adore eggplant and it is so delicious right now. Beautiful flavor combinations. Yum!

    September 13, 2009 11:50 pm
  • 6
    Eralda said:

    I love this dish! I adore eggplant and it is so delicious right now. Beautiful flavor combinations. Yum!

    September 13, 2009 11:51 pm
  • 7
    Eralda said:

    I adore eggplant and pomegranate molasses equally. What great flavor combinations and it is the perfect time to buy eggplant at the farmers’ market. Yummy!

    September 13, 2009 11:52 pm
  • 8
    alissa said:

    Love it – so love it.. i have made something similar but yours looks much nicer – thank you for that great recipe

    September 14, 2009 5:48 am
  • 9

    Just found your beautiful blog and have been browsing around. Couldn’t agree with you more about how we get tripped up by a few mistakes, which then paralyze us in the kitchen. It is absolutely the best way to learn and oftentimes, I find the failure is at least edible.

    September 14, 2009 2:46 pm
  • 10
    Emily said:

    My first comment disappeared, but glad to know you found Sahadi’s. And good to know I can get it there. It’s one store I don’t mind taking a trip to!

    September 14, 2009 3:03 pm
  • 11
    radish said:

    Emily, your comment should be back up (stupid spam gets to me and I accidentally delete perfectly good comments! i’m trying to find a solution as I type this) — I’ve been a fan of Sahadi’s for the last 8 years – it’s a treasure and i’m lucky to live within a block of it!

    September 14, 2009 3:09 pm
  • 12

    This looks beautiful…I love eggplant but am pretty consistently at a loss for how to prepare it so I love this post! I too am the hugest fan of Sahadi’s, but also love SOS Chef in the east village near Tompkins Square park…also a wonderful source for all things french and middle eastern (and far, far beyond)!

    September 14, 2009 3:10 pm
  • 13
    whimsy2 said:

    Luckily, I know a nearby store which I hope will stock pomegranate molassas – I’m checking tomorrow — but clearly you’re not in Portland, Oregon, where I live.
    I feel sorta dumb for asking this, but I’m a new fan and haven’t yet read the archives. where are you blogging from?

    September 14, 2009 6:19 pm
  • 14
    radish said:

    Whimsy – glad to have you here :) I live in Brooklyn, NY!
    Irina – thank you for your comment, you’re not Russian, are you?

    September 14, 2009 11:10 pm
  • 15

    Love what you said about trying and failing (or succeeding, in this case). The whole process is good.
    One of the best things about having a blog is that you can RECORD your successes! I was always improvising, and if something turned out well, I never remembered what I did. Now you can recreate this delicious eggplant over and over (which I plan to do).

    September 16, 2009 10:24 am
  • 16
    Chilli said:

    Wish I had some measure of your sang froid in dealing with culinary disasters. Mine are often colossal, with no hope of rescue, and though I know that you can’t win ‘em all, I hate the wastage involved in such situations. It takes me a lo-oooong time to go back and give the dish another shot. It helps to read about how other people work their way through such situations:) You are right about th of course.
    I love brinjal…errr..eggplant (all these years here and I am yet to seamlessly adopt that word) and if I can find pomegranate molasses out here, I’m certainly going to try it!

    September 16, 2009 2:28 pm
  • 17

    this might be my first visit here. this eggplant sounds yummy, and i really like your photos

    September 24, 2009 5:47 pm
  • 18

    I made this last night, after finding some pomegranate molasses at a grocery store in an Armenian neighborhood. It was tasty, although I think I should have served it over rice. The tangy sweet taste is good, but needed to be cut with something. Thanks for the opportunity to try a new eggplant dish and work with a new ingredient.

    September 29, 2009 4:33 pm
  • 19
    radish said:

    Chilli – I know, I used to take failed projects pretty hard, and it’s not easy when you try your hardest at something and the results isn’t what you’d hoped. Still, you can a) eat your mistakes (bonus!) and b) can always attempt again! :)
    Justcooknyc – thank you so much!! hope you return.
    Green Frieda, we served ours over basmati rice and it worked great. What would you cut it with? I can see the intense taste might not appeal to all, but my friend and I (or rather he, really) inhaled it.

    October 1, 2009 11:50 pm
  • 20

    love your site and was just given a bottle of this molasses and looking up recipes on internet,found you!thanx

    October 12, 2009 8:46 am
  • 21
    RH said:

    Just made this for dinner, but omitted the cilantro because ick. I added a bit of cinnamon to the glaze and served it over farro & lentils with some toasted walnuts. So good!

    April 27, 2011 10:59 pm

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