My blog has been quiet, as it usually is over the summer months, because my home has been full of toddlers and children (some of whom belonging to me) running in and out the front door, trips to the pools (with requisite snacks), and a generous handful of trips to visit family, see new places, try new food.
Of special note, was a trip to Pittsburgh's Conflict Kitchen, were my husband and I enjoyed a delicious Iranian lunch. The Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant with a walk up counter, that serves a rotating menu from countries with which the United States is in conflict. This month, they serve a beautiful selection of Iranian dishes. About a year ago, in a controversial move, they rotated their menu to cover dishes from Palestine. If you are ever in Pittsburgh, do try to find it.
Back in my hot and humid Virginia, my kitchen is overflowing with luscious summer vegetables - zucchini, tomatoes, corn, eggplant. The summer months, though, bring more ambitious cooking projects to a halt. I crave simple, light meals, salads and simple cuts of protein, meals that keep me out of the kitchen and at the pool. On this particular day, I had several eggplants that needed some love, but I was far too hot to fire up the grill for eggplant dip, and far to lazy to contemplate a batch of eggplant bake, or menezali, so I found myself creating this simple eggplant dish.
One spoonful, and I was hooked. I've always loved eggplant, especially fried eggplant cubes, with its lovely velvety and luxuriant richness. This time, I added a drizzle of pomegranate molasses to cut through the richness and brightens and sweetens the dish. Add a sprinkle of toasted nuts, and suddenly this plate of vegetables, for me, becomes utterly crave-able.
I've served this over a bed of basmati rice, for a simple, meatless main dish, or as a warm side dish, with grilled chicken. Either way, you are in for a treat.
Fried Curried Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses4 medium eggplants
Olive oil for frying, a generous amount
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp curry powder
1 garlic clove, finely minced, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pomegranate molasses, two or three tablespoons
Pine nuts, toasted, two or three tablespoons
1. Wash and peel eggplants, and dice into small cubes.
2. Preheat a deep skillet over medium heat, coat generously with oil. Add a layer of eggplant to the skillet and fry over medium heat until eggplant is tender and golden, seasoning with salt, pepper, curry powder and garlic. Taste each batch to check seasoning. If the eggplant starts to stick, douse it with more olive oil. Remove eggplant to a paper towel-lined platter, and then repeat with another batch of eggplant cubes, until all of your eggplant has been fried.
3. Toast pine nuts in a clean skillet, over medium heat, just until the begin to turn golden brown. Watch carefully - they burn easily!
4. Arrange eggplant on a platter, scatter pine nuts on top, and drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Excellent served over a bed of basmati rice, or on its own, as a salad.
Note: You can also purchase pomegranate molasses, or pomegranate syrup at any international market or large grocery store, or order online.