Mondaze [Ottolenghi’s Eggplant]

ottolenghi eggplanteggplant blahg (1)There’s one day a week that my boyfriend and I both have off from jobs and school, so it’s become our de facto weekend. We have a long list of fun things to do and places to go on Mondays, and there’s just one rule: no alarm clocks. Despite our to-do lists, by the time this one day to sleep in rolls around sometimes our ambitious plans get discarded. That’s okay though; for most of January I was busy studying for an exam and we sort of fell into a lovely, lazy routine of waking up late, walks at the dog park, some Ottawa-exploring and kitchen fun. These eggplants were one such Monday kitchen adventure. It’s a super easy recipe, and they’re described in the cookbook (one of my favourites) as “rustically elegant”…I think that about sums it up.eggplant blahg (7)eggplant blahg (6)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preseteggplant blahg (2)Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce from Plenty
Serves 4 as a starter

2 large and long eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish (regular thyme will work, too!)
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
Seeds from one pomegranate
1 tsp za’atar (No fear if you don’t have za’atar handy! We made our own using Heidi’s super easy directions.)

9 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, straight through the green stalk. WIthout piercing the outer skin, cut three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant from each side so that you end up with a diamond-shape pattern.

Place the eggplant halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil until all the oil has been absorbed by the flesh. Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.

While your eggplants are roasting, mix all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. Season to taste.

When you’re ready to serve, spoon a generous amount of sauce over the eggplant halves. Sprinkle za’atar and plenty of pomegranate seed on top and garnish with fresh thyme. Finish it all off with a drizzle of olive oil.

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