Ottolenghi eggplant, oh yeah
OK, I confess. I have a serious cook crush on for Yotam Ottolenghi. I tested a bunch of spring recipes from the British chef's new cookbook "Plenty" this year, but was intrigued by his affection for the eggplant. He's got half a dozen or so recipes for the vegetable.
Back then, any eggplant I could find would have been soft and flabby and imported probably thousands of miles. But Sunday, with eggplant at its absolute peak at the local farmers markets, I finally got around to trying this eggplant in buttermilk sauce. And it was great. This guy can do no wrong (well, at least until the next recipe I try).
This dish couldn't be easier to make: Essentially, you cut long eggplants in half lengthwise, then cut a crosshatch into the flesh and brush it with as much olive oil as it will hold. Bake at 400 degrees until it's tender all the way through (recipe in the book says 200 degrees, but they forgot to convert from Celsius), then cool. Just before serving, whisk together equal amounts of Greek yogurt and buttermilk, with a smashed garlic clove and a little olive oil. Spoon this over the eggplant, then sprinkle on some za'atar (I used good dried oregano instead) and pomegranate seeds. Amazing.
Here's a YouTube version of it by Ottolenghi himself.
-- Russ Parsons
Photo credit: Russ Parsons