Eggplant Dip with Pomegranate
Crimson Pomegranates available from The Fruit Company®
Thanksgiving morning. The oven door opens, closes; the smell of turkey fills the air and hovers above your head like an autumn fog. A delicious dark and white meat fog. It is early, and everyone is still in bed; they’ve all fallen into the space between sleep and the morning that follows it. The smell of the turkey will soon push them over the edge.
You’ve been charged with cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. Next year, someone else will be responsible, and your only job will be to be thankful you cooked last year. But you must not get ahead of yourself. There are egg timers, and thermometers, and smoke alarms to worry about. No, now is not the time for being thankful; that will come later after you’ve filled every belly past its normal capacity.
Family and friends will soon begin to flood the kitchen. They’ll stumble in slowly like zombies, looking for samples and trays of vegetables with ranch dip. But there won’t be any ranch dips this Thanksgiving. You’ve taken a new approach, you’ve done something a little different. Eggplant Dip with Pomegranate and Tahina. They’ll look at you confused when you offer the bowl adorned with pita bread, and veggies. After a few bites, their faces will relax and they’ll smile. Perhaps a few will applaud or bow, or whatever they find appropriate at this hour in the morning.
Either way, they’ll stumble out of the kitchen, their whistles whetted, their stomachs full enough to put up with the tantalizing smell of turkey, and the sweet potato soup simmering on the stove.
Eggplant Dip with Pomegranate and Tahina
Recipe Courtesy of The Food Network
- 2 large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
- 1 pomegranate
- 3 tablespoons tahina
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Grill the eggplant over the gas grill or prick and roast in a hot oven until it is extremely soft inside.
When cool, split the eggplant open and gently scrape the seeds out, using a melon-baller or large spoon. Pull away the skin, drain the liquid, and chop the pulp in 1/2-inch cubes.
Gently score the outer skin of the pomegranate into quarters. Place the entire pomegranate in a large bowl filled with water. With your hands under the water, gently pull the skin off and remove the seeds, which will fall to the bottom. Drain off the water, discard the outer skin and fiber, dab the seeds dry, and proceed. Reserve 1/4 cup of the seeds for garnish.
Place the remaining seeds over a sieve and press out the juice with your hands. You should have approximately 1/4 cup juice. Discard the pulp and seeds.
In a nonmetallic bowl, mix the eggplant with the pomegranate juice, tahina, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Adjust the amount of pomegranate juice and lemon to your taste. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the mixture until smooth but not mushy.
Spread mixture on a flat surface and sprinkle with chopped parsley and the reserved pomegranate seeds, dried cherries, or dried cranberries. Serve with pieces of warm pita for dipping.
If you can’t find tahina, or you can’t find it at a price you like, try almond butter. If you can’t find almond butter, unsweetened peanut butter would do in a pinch, but you’ll be missing out on the smoky flavor from the tahina.
A Bountiful Feast: Next Recipe (Pear, Sweet Potato, & Jalapeno Soup)