The past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to work with, and learn from, Chef Louisa Shafia, author of The New Persian Kitchen, on her newest project: Lakh Lakh. Lakh Lakh is an (elevated) Persian street food pop-up happening at Porsena on Monday nights in New York City. The experience so far has been really fantastic and full of inspiring flavor combinations and recipe ideas. Louisa was using pomegranate molasses in one of her recipes and since then it’s been on my brain.
My family has an affinity for whole roasting eggplants under the broiler, scooping out the insides, and turning it into more of a spread. It’s delicious in it’s own right, but I really like that this particular version of roasted eggplant can hold its own against a fork.
Now, if only I had an oversized cable-knit sweater….
Serves: Serves 3-6 people depending on how it's being served, this recipe can be doubled
- 1-1.5 lb Eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Curry powder (I used a mild curry powder)
- ½ tsp Garlic powder
- ½ cup (a little overfull) or 2.5 oz Walnut halves, toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 Scallions, sliced thin
- ½ cup Cilantro, chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ¼ cup + 1.5 Tbsp Tahina
- ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Pomegranate molasses** (if the taste is too strong cut by ½)
- 1-1.5 Tbsp Honey (if the molasses has sugar added to it use less honey)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes and place in a colander. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and toss so all the eggplant is salted. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the eggplant in an even layer on it. Do not rinse the salt off. Drizzle the olive oil and all the spices and toss with your hands so everything is coated.
- Place in the middle of the oven. Roast for 45 minutes turning the pieces with a spoon every 15 minutes. If the eggplant looks like it's burning you might need to take it out earlier. If it isn't cooked through, lower the oven temperature.
- Once finished let sit out of the oven on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes to cool.
- To make the dressing whisk the olive oil into the tahina slowly so it incorporates. Then whisk in pomegranate molasses and honey. Salt to taste.
- Combine the eggplant with the walnuts, scallions, and cilantro and then toss it with the dressing. Sprinkle juice from half a lemon over the top and lightly toss once more.
As an aside, in my quest to start this blog and actually start writing down recipes I’ve slightly changed the way I work in my kitchen. For instance, I’ve learned to measure which is a far-cry from my “this needs a little more salt” or “that looks like enough oil”. As a result, certain dishes that I’ve typically made “to taste” have turned out a little different than I expected. This is only relevant to those who have eaten at my table, but this is one of those dishes. So delicious, just different.
I love how recipes are constantly evolving as we experience new foods and dishes, so if you have any feedback, edits, or alterations that you’ve made to these recipes, please share them in the comments! Any and all feedback is sincerely welcome.