Like most food lovers, I have a pretty big obsession with all things Ottolenghi. Immediately after booking my airfare to London, I made a reservation at his restaurant… before booking a hotel. #Priorities. My idea of paradise would be living on a remote Mediterranean island eating nothing but Ottolenghi’s food for the rest of my life. Since I can’t exactly make that first part happen at the moment, I’ll have to settle for incorporating more Ottolenghi recipes into my repertoire as winter sets in *hard* in New York City. Always healthy, bright, and stunningly gorgeous, his recipes are the perfect way to usher in the New Year. So this New Year’s Day, I invited a friend over for dinner and got to work on the cover recipe from Plenty, roasted eggplant with buttermilk sauce. The results were better than I could’ve imagined and this is definitely going to be on heavy rotation this winter.
Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce
2 large and long eggplants (I ended up using smaller Italian eggplants)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish (I just used regular thyme, next time I would add some lemon zest)
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pomegranate (I purchased just the seeds to make things easier)
1 tsp za’atar
9 tbsp buttermilk (I skipped this and just added a tbsp on red wine vinegar to the yogurt)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus drizzle to finish
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt
Prehead the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, leaving the stalk intact. Use a small knife to make three or four horizontal incisions in the cut side of the eggplant, making sure not to cut through the skin. Repeat at an angle to get a diamond shaped pattern.
Place eggplant halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Rub with olive oil until all of the oil is absorbed. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the edges are brown and appear crisp. While the eggplant is baking, mix up the sauce and let it sit in the refrigerator. Remove the crushed garlic clove before spreading the sauce on the cooked and slightly-cooled eggplant. Sprinkle with the za’artar and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy 🙂 I served this alongside amaranth for a light dinner, but these would be perfect with lamb.