Burnt Eggplant with Lemon, Garlic and Pomegranate Seeds

Here’s the truth: I don’t like using cookbooks.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy reading them (I definitely do) or look at the pictures (I study each one for an inordinate amount of time) or that I’m not inspired by them.  I just don’t like cooking from them.  The first problem is that I’m TERRIBLE at following directions.  I have the worst memory in the world when it comes to measurements, so I have to go back to read the ingredient list at least four times before I get it straight.  And then I have to follow the directions… yeah right. That’s not going to happen.  By the point that I realize that maybe I should go peek at the instructions, I’ve already chopped and mixed everything… and sometimes it’s already made it’s way into the oven or onto the table.

So, when I decided that I was actually going to make something from my newly acquired copy of Jerusalem (which, I can not emphasize enough… you. must. buy. it. now. You won’t regret it), I made my greatest effort to follow every direction carefully.  Between you and me, I failed at that… but it didn’t matter, this is one of those recipes that’s hard to screw up.

I must admit that I got some strange looks.  Pomegranate and eggplant?  Together?  Really?  That’s… ummmm… unique.  But, believe me, it works.  Just be prepared for some surprised faces when they bite into their first seed.  It’s priceless.


  • January 8, 2013 - 1:48 am

    Jeff - Wow, those pomegranate seeds pop out of there! I imagine they pop the flavour as well! What a great looking dish, especially with your photography! Nicely done!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 1:50 am

    chinmayie @ love food eat - I could have written this post! I love cookbooks but I never cook from them :) That also applies to blogs actually… I rarely follow any recipe. I get inspired by several recipes and come up with my own all the time.ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 4:38 am

    Kathryn - I love this book although, ironically, I’ve yet to actually cook from it as I’ve spent all my time just gazing at the pretty pictures. This sounds like exactly the kind of thing that I love though and I love the idea of the contrast of the eggplant with the burst of the pomegranate seeds. Lovely!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 7:45 am

    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl - Of course you had me at lemon…then eggplant, then tahini, then mint, then… Gorgeous recipe and I love everything about it. I’ve never thrown pom into the mix but it sounds delish.ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 8:01 am

    Kasey - Ohh I love this method of preparing eggplant (I first learned about it from Plenty – Ottolenghi’s book pre-Jerusalem). It’s so luxurious and addictive! Beautiful photos, Brian.ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 8:09 am

    Laura - These photos are really great. Cooking the hell out of eggplant = luxurious texture every time. I’ve been loving Jerusalem. Such a perfect cookbook.

    And like you, I’m not much of a recipe follower either. A general scan, ingredient check and intuition is enough for me :)ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 8:46 am

    Meeta - What sounds strange to some is normal to others. I grew up o Mid Eastern food and this was part of our everyday. I love eggplants and the sweet tartness of pomegranate complements the earthy flavors of the eggplants. Glad you are liking the book too. My faves from 2012!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 8:56 am

    thelittleloaf - I adore Ottolenghi’s recipes and this one looks like a winner – those pomegranate seeds look like little jewels!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 9:33 am

    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies - I am completely nerding out over this post. The photos, the recipe, the pomegranate seeds. Just everything. I will be making this for sure!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Bev @ Bev Cooks - I need to come live inside your mouth.ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 10:48 am

    Carolyn - I think it sounds…unique. Kidding, I think those flavours would be amazing together!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 11:15 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This is such a pretty appetizer! Love this!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    jaime @ sweet road - I have a very similar approach to the kitchen. Under certain circumstances (baking or very specific techniques) I’ll follow recipes so I don’t have to follow a recipe in the future, but for the most part I like to go by my senses and play around in the kitchen. I love reading recipes though, it gives me great ideas of flavor pairings – like your eggplant/tahini/pomegranate combo!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    Meeta K. Wolff - What sounds strange to some is routine to others. I grew up on Mid Eastern food and babaghanoush is my favorites. I love eggplants and pairing it with pomegranate compliments the earthy flavors even more. xoReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    Eileen - This looks so good, and so deceptively simple! I got Jerusalem for xmas this year and have been having a hard time trying to decide what to make–not least because I also practically never follow recipes. :) This looks like a great candidate, though!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 5:17 pm

    Cook the Story - You’re right, pomegranate and eggplant do not jump out and say “Mix us together!” to me. Nor does the word “burnt” make me want to jump in and try it. I will say that the title of the recipe made me curious enough to click to the post and read the whole thing, so that says something. And now I’m convinced that it would definitely be delicious. Thanks for sharing this bit of weird tastiness!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    Megan - Your pictures are stunning! I’m definitely planning to make this soon. There’s a recipe in Plenty that uses eggplant and pomegranate seeds too… and it’s awesome. Ottolenghi just does such amazing things with eggplant. I recommend the eggplant and fried onions from Jerusalem next!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 6:34 pm

    Denise Woodward - I am right there with you on cookbooks – love to look but hardly ever follow exactly. I know which recipe this is – yes, I did follow that one – and it was amazing. Am positive this adaption is as well. Eggplants and pomegranates were meant to be married!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 7:02 pm

    Paula - bell'alimento - I have ear marked a recipe in the cookbook Plenty that’s similar. Can’t wait to try that flavor combination!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 10:37 pm

    Alison Lewis - great idea Brian!ReplyCancel

  • January 8, 2013 - 11:03 pm

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - I’ve been meaning to get my hands on that book, everything sounds so good!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 12:26 am

    Deanna Bisaha - I made this, or at least I made the eggplant puree, and one of my eggplants was so, so bitter I ended up tossing all of it. I highly recommend the cover recipe though. I imagine it would be excellent with chickpeas in place of the ground lamb.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 1:49 am

    Gwen Wilson - That’s so funny, I am exactly the same when it comes to following recipes….. boooorrriiiing! I like to think of it as culinary intuition and creativity as opposed to ADD however. 😉
    I must say, I was intrigued by the addition of pomegranate but I trust your ‘intuition and creativity’ and am going to give it a go. 😉

    I’ve heard of this cookbook, Jerusalem and will have to check it out for a bit of light reading. 😉ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 6:45 am

    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective - Very creative. And I love that’s its so healthy!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 8:01 am

    Jeanne @ CookSister! - Mmm, I *love* the combo of eggplant and pomegranate – both for the taste and the colour :)ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 9:20 am

    Andrew Frishman - MMnnnn. . . I LOVES me some eggplant, especially when my little bro writes a note on the front door that says, “No eggplant in this house!”

    La palabra berenjena se parece algun tipo de baile, pero no es!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 9:35 am

    Joanne - I think ottolenghi has paired eggplant with pomegranate in every one of his cookbooks to date and yeah…it just works. :) I definitely can’t wait to acquire this cookbook and make this dip!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 9:49 am

    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty - What a gorgeous pairing. Can’t wait to give this a try!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    Jeanette - I love eggplant dip – I’ve made it with a little pomegranate molasses, but I love the idea of pomegranate seeds on top – so pretty!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    Emma - This looks delicious, I love eggplant dips (and anything with garlic) so I’ll have to try thisReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2013 - 5:46 pm

    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings - When I was in Israel in 2009, my world opened up to a whole new Middle Eastern cuisine! At least in food, there is a happy union of Arabian, Druze, Sephardi and Ashkenaz influence. This dish is just a beauty – and I’ve seen it all around Jerusalem!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) - I absolutely love these flavors together, and the pom arils make such a gorgeous topping!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2013 - 4:47 pm

    Amitra @ Naan Bread - The only form of eggplant I love is this roasted kind. Your pomegranate combination is very interesting. I will have to try to sweet and savory combination. Inspired me to cook and post my roasted eggplant recipe soon!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2013 - 10:26 pm

    a farmer in the dell - I hear ya on the whole recipe thing. I love getting ideas from cookbooks/blogs but I do not follow recipes. It’s just not my thing. This dish however, looks freaking fantastic! I may add my own twist but I love eggplant and will try to do this recipe justice.ReplyCancel

  • January 13, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Khanh Tran - I follow recipes when using unfamiliar ingredients (tahini), so I followed this one to a tee. I’m glad I did, this was amazing! The pomegranate arils gave such a satisfying crunch, I would definitely not omit them even though I’ve never had them in baba ghanoush before. Thank you so much, this recipe is a keeper!ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2013 - 1:59 pm

    Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking - My favorite way to eat eggplant! I have never thou paired it pom seeds, must try and yes, Jerusalem is a must-have cookbook!ReplyCancel

  • January 18, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    Michael Lewicki - Funny but I was just flipping through that book this morning and came across this. So glad you made it because I thought the same thing, strange combination but I bet it would work. And you proved it does. Lovely pictures too!ReplyCancel

  • January 18, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    Mireya Merritt - No… it doesn’t sound weird. It sounds fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • January 18, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    Mireya Merritt - No, it doesn’t sound weird—it sounds fabulous! Love your site.ReplyCancel

  • January 20, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    Rochelle - I also have a problem with reading recipes. I love cookbooks though for their pictures and inspiration :D.

    This is one of those recipes that looks like something I’d LOVE to try and if I can manage to find that cookbook in English here in Portugal, I’ll get it for sure!ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2013 - 5:59 pm

    Arthur B Raleigh - Wait! How do you take pictures of your hands? :-) Love the recipes!ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2013 - 1:30 am

    Jalapenojonny - It’s a combination I never would of thought of using but looks great and will try this for sure. Eggplant is quite underrated but has so many uses. I recently cooked a Morocccan dish using eggplants called Zaalouk and it is so tasty. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • August 11, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    Couscous & Consciousness - Like you, I find following a recipe exactly pretty much impossible. I love this spread from Ottolenghi (Jerusalem is my absolute favourite book). I made it recently and really wanted to have it with the pomegranate seeds but didn’t have any available. Can’t wait to get home, where I have a year round stash of them in the freezer, so I can try it again.ReplyCancel

  • January 25, 2014 - 7:59 pm

    The Moroccan Table « Laura's Mess - […] not going to rewrite it here, however many other bloggers have including Brian Samuels (see link here). It’s a beautiful, bold and piquant dip. If you’d like a tutorial for something […]ReplyCancel

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