In my last post, I sang the praises of our luscious red pomegranate.
Allow me to continue the accolade with a few more factoids, and then share a recipe.
A fruit by any other name, tastes as tantalizing. In Persian, it is dulima; in Spanish; granada, in Dutch, granaatappel; in German, granatapfel.
Pomegranate, (Punica granatum L.) comes from the marraige of two french words: pomme (for apple) and granate for seeds.
As a plant, Punica granatum has shown remarkable adoptability, and is grown in many regions of the world including China, India, South America, and even Hawaii.
It was introduced to California by Spanish settlers in 1769
Pomegranates’ Many Uses
Here are a few other uses for pomegranates which may surprise you.
- In India, the seeds and parts of the rind are dried to produce ardana, which is a spice used in the making of chutneys, and baked goods.
- The trunk/bark contains tannin, and was used in the production of Morrocan leather.
- The rind and flowers yield dyes for textiles
- The leaves can be turned into ink by steeping them in vinegar.
- In Japan, an insecticide is made from the bark.
- The wood is used for walking sticks and other wood crafts.
Now, on to the recipe for:
Grilled Eggplants with Pomegranate Seeds and Syrup
1 globe eggplant, weighing about 1-1/4 pounds
sea salt for sprinkling on raw eggplant slices (approximately one teaspoon)
1/3 cup or more, extra virgin olive oil
Additional sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup full fat cow or goat yogurt
1/3 cup pomegranate syrup
(This can be purchased at grocery stores that carry Middle Eastern foods.)
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Handful of pomegranate seeds, as garnish
1) Slice the eggplant into 1/4″ round slices. Lay them in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle one side with sea salt.
(Don’t be shy with the salt. Use about 1/2 teaspoon for each side.)
Allow the slices to “sweat” for about 20 minutes, then turn them over and do the same with the other side.
(By salting eggplant, you remove any bitter flavors and will prevent the slices from becoming soggy when cooked.)
2) After the other side has also rested for 20 minutes, pat the slices dry, and brush one side generously with olive oil.
3) Heat a large pan to medium-high heat (a large cast iron pan is perfect for this), and place the eggplant slices,
oiled side down.
4) Allow the slices to cook and brown on one side. About 7 – 8 minutes. You may need to lower the heat slightly, so as not to burn the slices.
5) As the first side is cooking, brush the top side with more olive oil, then turn them over when ready.
6) Grill the other side for another 7 – 8 minutes, or until the slices are tender.
7) Transfer them to a plate, by arranging in an over lapping circle, or whatever pattern excites you.
8) Season with a little more sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
9) Pour the yogurt on, then drizzle the pomegranate syrup over.
10) Top with the pomegranate seeds, and toasted walnut.
You can serve this at room temperature.
Serves 4 as an appetizer. It is also a great side dish.
For Love of Food & Friends,