Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yogurt

The tree is laying sadly out by the curb and the Christmas decorations have been put away.  Spring is a long way off. The gym parking lot is filled with those "resolutioners" who will be gone by March but will take all my parking spots in the meantime.  It's a good thing I'm not bitter. 

I need a little ray of sunshine which I found in eggplant, pomegranates and saffron and yogurt.  The dish is beautifully balanced with the smoky eggplant, peppery arugula, the acidic lemony yogurt plus you get the pop of the pomegranate seeds and the crunch of pine nuts.  Served with roasted potatoes, it makes a great meatless meal.

This recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook which is filled with gorgeousness.  If you are of the vegetarian persuasion or just want to feel exotic AND healthy, give this cookbook a whirl.  In the meantime, I've converted the recipe from grams and Celsius to US measurements. For my method of seeding a pomegranate without making your kitchen look like a crime scene, click here.

Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yogurt
Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
Serves 4

2 medium eggplants
2T olive oil plus more for roasting eggplant
6 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt
2T Meyer lemon (regular lemon is fine too)
1 garlic clove, crushed
small pinch of saffron threads
3T very hot water
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
4 cups arugula
3T pine nuts
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cut eggplant into 3/4 inch slices.  Brush both sides with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes then turn over slices and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Set aside and let cool.
2. Crush the saffron threads and combine with 3T of very hot water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2T of olive oil, garlic and a generous pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Add the saffron liquid, first straining the threads out of it and whisk all ingredients together.
4.  Plate a few slices of eggplant with the arugula, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.  Drizzle with the saffron yogurt.

Note: Eggplant can be roasted up to 3 days ahead.  Let it come to room temperature before composing salad. 

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