I can’t be the only one who grills eggplant and other vegetables for later use, while the grill’s going for something else—don’t you love having them ready to go for sandwiches or salads? With eggplant, though, I often go straight to this dish, based on one by Paula Wolfert. Simple, delicious, vegetarian—vegan, even—and good at any temp, from hot off the grill to cool out of the fridge. I like it best at room temperature, after having been dressed and allowed to rest a bit. I most often use large eggplants cut quite thin, but you can slice as thick as you like, as long as you cook until tender. Skinnier, smaller varieties are excellent this way too, both Asian (with dark tops) and Italian (green tops). Tangy pomegranate molasses is easy to find in Middle Eastern stores and many large supermarkets.
Grilled Eggplant with Pomegranate Molasses
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
½ teaspoon minced garlic (I grate on a fine Microplane)
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Water as needed
1 large eggplant, sliced thinly lengthwise and brushed lightly with olive oil
Mint leaves or sprigs
(Makes 6 side-dish servings)
In small bowl, whisk pomegranate molasses, mint, garlic, pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil. If mixture is too thick, thin with teaspoons of water until pourable. Check seasoning.
Grill eggplant over medium heat until browned and tender. Arrange on platter, season with salt and pepper. Cut through all layers into serving-size squares. Pour dressing over, and garnish with mint leaves or sprigs.