Eggplant and Pomegranate Braise with Aromatic Herbs
Eggplant and Pomegranate Braise with Aromatic Herbs (adapted from “Food of Life” by Najmieh Batmanglij)
8 chinese eggplants (2 lbs or 2 large regular eggplants peeled and bitterness removed) ½ c oil or less - or cooking spray
Walnut Sauce 1 c (¼ lb) + 2 T walnuts, toasted at 350 for 10 minutes 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 c chopped fresh parsley 1 c chopped fresh cilantro ½ c chopped spring onions 1 T grape molasses or honey 2 t ground cumin ¼ t ground cinnamon 1 t sea salt ¼ t pepper ¼ t turmeric 1 serrano chili, chopped or 1 t red pepper flakes 2 T rice flour 2 c pomegranate juice or ⅓ c pomegranate paste diluted in 2 c water ½ c pomegranate arils, 2 T of the aforementioned roasted walnuts & ¼ c fresh cilantro for garnish
Remove the crowns from the eggplants and slice them into ¼”x3” lengths Arrange on oiled baking sheet and brush both sides with a little oil. Broil 2 minutes each side or until golden brown - then turn the oven to 350℉ In a food processor, place all ingredients for the walnut sauce but only 1 c of pomegranate juice and pulse until you have a grainy paste. Adjust seasoning to taste - it should be sweet and sour. Add remaining 2 cups of juice. Arrange one layer of eggplant slices in a greased deep 9x9 inch baking dish and spread a layer of walnut sauce on top.Continue, alternating layers until you have used all the eggplant.