Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon and Pomegranate Seeds

Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon and Pomegranate Seeds
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

This was the second appetizer that I served for my Ottolenghi dinner and my guests couldn't get enough of it. The key to this delicious dip is to really char/burn the eggplants so you get a rich smokey flavour that is accented beautifully with the garlic, lemon and herbs. The pomegranate seeds look like little jewels in this dish. I served this with toasted pitas. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6


4 large eggplants
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Seeds of 1/2 large pomegranate
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. If you have a gas range, line the base with aluminum foil to protect it, keeping only the burners exposed. Place the eggplants directly on four separate gas burners with medium flames and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Use metal tongs to turn them around occasionally. Alternatively, score the eggplants with a knife in a few places, about 3/4 inch deep and place on a baking sheet under a hot broiler for about an hour. Turn them around every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst and break.
2. Remove the eggplants from the heat and allow them to cool down slightly. Once cool enough to handle, cut an opening along each eggplant and scoop out the soft flesh, dividing it with your hands into long thin strips. Discard the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for at least an hour, preferably longer, to get rid of as much water as possible.
3. Place the eggplant pulp in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the eggplant to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

4. When you are ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and taste for seasoning. Pile high on a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds, and garnish with the remaining herbs.

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