Meatless Monday Recipe: Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season filled with good food and fun!

I got an AMAZING new cookbook for Christmas called Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

The photos in this cookbook are so beautiful, I just want to make and eat everything in it!!! This book retails for $35, but you can pick up a hardback copy from Amazon for a GREAT PRICE by clicking the link above.

 

Plenty-Ottolenghi

The Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce featured on the cover was the first recipe I tried. Can you blame me? How good does that look?

This recipe serves 4 as an appetizer. I decided to make the entire recipe as an entree and serve a whole eggplant to each person, but honestly it was a bit too rich for that so I’d recommend keeping it as a starter. The following are the ingredients and preparation instructions as specified in the PLENTY cookbook.

At the bottom, you’ll find a few shortcuts that I used when I prepared myself. ENJOY!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large and long eggplants
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 tsp za’atar

Sauce:

  • 9 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • pinch of salt

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, cutting straight through the green stalk (don’t eat the stalk). Use a small sharp knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin. Repeat at a 45-degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.
  2. Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil – keep on brushing until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh. Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down completely.
  3. While the eggplants are in the oven, cut the pomegranate into two horizontally. Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or a rolling pin to gently knock on the pomegranate skin. Continue beating with increasing power until the seeds start coming naturally and falling through your fingers into the bowl. Once all are there, sift through the seeds to remove any bits of white skin or membrane.
  4. To make the sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.
  5. To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves without covering the stalks. Sprinkle za’atar and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with lemon thyme. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Eggplant-with-Buttermilk-Sauce-Recipe

Questions & substitutions:

I couldn’t find any fresh lemon thyme, so I simply used 1 1/2 teaspoons of regular dried thyme and juice from half a lemon.  It worked just fine!

What the heck is za’atar???

za-atar-sm

 

 

 

 

 

A mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices popular in the Middle East (per Wikipedia).  This can be a bit tough to find, but if you live in an area that has a middle eastern market you shouldn’t have a problem.

Question:  Do you have any awesome eggplant recipes to share?  Please add them in the Comments section below!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy cooking 🙂

 

 

 

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