Beautiful Baked Eggplant

A few years ago, you couldn’t put me in the same room as an eggplant. I hated it. I thought it was the weirdest, most random vegetable in the world. Now, I can’t get enough of it. It is one of my favourite vegetables now, and that’s all thanks to a dear friend of mine who got me hooked. She’s my veggie junkie. I can’t thank her enough for introducing me to the wonderful and diverse world of veggies.

Now, let’s get serious.

They say that we can have as many vegetables in a day as we want because they’re just so darn good for you! We’re not talking about starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn or peas, we’re talking about all of those other ones: beets, carrots, turnips, celery, zucchini, cucumber, and of course, EGGPLANT.

This is one of my most treasured dishes, and I was inspired, both aesthetically and ingrediently (just made a word) by the fabulous British chef, Ottolenghi. He is simply amazing. He wrote an entire cookbook on how to cook vegetables. It’s called Plenty, and I consider it as my healthy Bible.

This recipe is wonderful as a side dish to chicken or lamb. I’m not telling you how to serve it; I am merely giving you suggestions.

For 4 servings, here is what you will need:

1 large eggplant

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Thyme leaves (any spice is good, so don’t cry if you don’t any thyme at home)

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

For the sauce:

1 cup Plain 0% Greek Yogurt

1 crushed garlic clove

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Cut your eggplant in half. Take a knife and cut diamond shapes in your eggplant, without cutting all the way through. You must to do this so that the olive oil will absorb itself better in the eggplant.

Place them on a cookie sheet and brush your olive oil on the eggplant halves. Make sure you brush it well! Think of it as a painting ; if you only press the brush a little on the canvas, we won’t see what you’re painting!

Add salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes. By this time, your eggplant should be nice and browned.

Your kitchen will smell like heaven at this point. Take a moment to savour the smell!

Now I will tell you how to take the pomegranate seeds out without struggling for hours on end! I have no merit in unleashing this secret, it’s all Ottolenghi’s genius.

Take half of the pomegranate and hold it in your palm over a bowl. The cut side should be against your palm. Now, take a wooden spoon and gently but thoroughly massage the pomegranate skin. Do this for a few minutes and eventually, you will see the seeds coming out of your hand naturally! It’s amazing!

Now for your sauce, mix the yogurt with the garlic.

Serve your eggplant as is shown in my picture.

Fair warning: your guests might drool at the sight of this marvellous side dish.

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