Oh gosh, Branden’s aunt gave him one of the most incredible cookbooks for Christmas, called Plenty. If you’re a vegetarian, this book is a must to liven up your life. Even if you’re not a vegetarian but appreciate vegetables, you should probably consider this book, too (we also made these sweet potatoes out of the book). Seriously, if nothing else, the pictures are to die for.
This particular recipe jumped out at us right away…because it was on the cover! It just looked SO good!! And it was; we were not disappointed at all!
We served this as a side to grilled lamb chops and garlic bread that I rubbed with garlic and dusted with Za’atar before toasting.
- 2 large, long eggplants
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 tsp. za’atar
- 9 TBS buttermilk
- 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. 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.
Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet line with parchment paper. rush 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.
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 out 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.
To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients. Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.
To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves. Sprinkle with za’atar and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top garnish with lemon thyme. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.