Jon’s ability to combine flavors that I’d never think to combine never ceases to amaze me. A few weeks ago, he decided to make Cumin Scented Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses and Cilantro. The way he tells it, he searched high and low for the molasses, only to find it a few blocks away at a small convenience store. I think he will check there first next time. But the search was well worth it. The result: the most flavor-intense eggplant I’ve ever tasted.
- 5 cups water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sea salt or coarse kosher salt
- 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pomegranate molasses* (for drizzling)
- 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Stir 5 cups water and 2 1/2 tablespoons sea salt in large bowl to dissolve salt. Add eggplant slices. Place plate on eggplant to submerge; let soak 1 hour. Drain eggplant; pat dry.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté eggplant until brown in spots and softened, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding more oil by tablespoonfuls as needed; arrange eggplant in single layer on baking sheet.
Mix cumin and cayenne. Sprinkle eggplant with cumin mixture. Roast until golden and cooked through, 30 minutes.
Remove eggplant from oven; sprinkle with garlic. Arrange eggplant on platter and drizzle lightly with pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and cilantro over. Serve warm or at room temperature.