Cumin-Roasted Eggplant Wedges With Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts, Pomegranate & Yogurt Dressing
For Middle Eastern people, the eggplant is a diet staple. While we don’t really embrace it as a salad item in the West, I think it makes a wonderful salad ingredient, whether it is grilled, fried, preserved or—in this case—roasted. Roasting eggplant in the oven is a healthier way of cooking, as it uses less oil than frying and allows you to celebrate the flavor in a concentrated form. I can happily eat this dish on its own, on my own, but it’s a great one for sharing, as it’s a real crowd-pleaser.
- 3–4 large eggplant, cut into wedges (ensure the skin sides are 2 inches wide)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 5 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 4–5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 small package (about 1/2 ounce) of cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a pastry brush, brush the exposed flesh sides of each eggplant wedge with a good amount of olive oil. Arrange the wedges, skin-side down, on the prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle liberally with the cumin seeds, ensuring some seeds land on the exposed flesh of the wedges. Roast for 45–60 minutes or until the eggplant wedges are golden brown, with dark, burnished edges. Arrange the wedges on a large, flat platter and season well with salt and pepper.
Give the yogurt a good seasoning of salt and pepper and dilute it with a little water if it is too thick to drizzle. Drizzle the yogurt over the eggplant, followed by the pomegranate molasses. Sprinkle liberally with the toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, followed by the chopped cilantro. Lastly, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately. If you have leftovers, they are great eaten the next day, served at room temperature.
Reprinted from “Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East” Copyright © 2016 by Sabrina Ghayour. Photography by Haarala Hamilton. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.