If you like Middle Eastern food, try this easy grilled eggplant dish. Fanning out the eggplant on the serving plate makes a stunning presentation. Tahini gives the dish some creaminess, and pomegranate seeds bring sweet crunch and color. The tahini sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Drizzle any extra sauce on grilled fish, lamb or vegetables. If you like, sprinkle the eggplant with za’atar as you grill them for even more flavor.
Grilled Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) tahini
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) lukewarm water, plus more as needed
- 1 large garlic clove
- 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 4 Japanese eggplants
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) pomegranate seeds
1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill (400° to 450°F/200° to 230°C).
2. In a food processor, combine the tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, 1 Tbs. of the oil, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and the cumin and process until a very smooth puree forms, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add more water and/or lemon juice 1 Tbs. at a time if needed to make a thick, yet pourable sauce.
3. Starting at the blossom end, cut each eggplant lengthwise into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 to 12 mm) thick, cutting all the way down into the stem end but not through it, so the slices can be fanned out from the stem. Place the eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush all of the cut sides and the outsides with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and then sprinkle all of the cut sides and the outsides with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Using tongs, fan out the eggplant on the grate and cook, turning once, until tender and grill marked, 3 to 4 minutes per side. The eggplant will fan out more easily as they cook and soften. Remove the eggplant from the grill.
5. Spread a generous amount of the tahini sauce on the bottom of a platter. Arrange the fanned eggplant over the sauce and drizzle with a little more sauce. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and serve with the remaining sauce. Serves 4.
For this recipe and other secrets on how to make fabulous food
on the grill, check out our essential guide to cooking on fire,
Grill School, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.