- Servings: 4
2-3 good-sized Italian eggplants, unpeeled
olive oil for brushing
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 handful of pomegranate seeds (maybe 1/3 of a pomegranate, depending upon size)
1 handful of basil leaves
1 pinch saffron, infused in a few spoonfuls of hot water for a few minutes
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
To cook the eggplants: Preheat your oven to 425° Farenheit. Cut the eggplants into 1/2-inch thick rounds, brush each side with oil, and place in a single layer on a baking tray (you may need to do this in a few batches). Sprinkle with salt, and bake until they soften and brown on the bottom, ~7-10 minutes. Flip over, sprinkle with salt again, and return to the oven until the second side is browned and the eggplant is butter-soft. Transfer to a container and cool (if you don't use a ton of oil, the eggplant may dry out a wee bit on the edges, but if you transfer them to a covered glass container while still warm, they'll soften up beautifully). Let cool, and, if desired, refrigerate up to three days.
To make the saffron yogurt: Whisk together all ingredients until smooth, and adjust seasonings to taste (I was initially wondering whether olive oil was necessary, but it does a lovely job of rounding out the flavors). This can also be made up to three days in advance.
To assemble the salad: If you made the eggplant in advance, allow to warm to room temperature. Lay the eggplant slices on individual plates (or, ideally, a nice dramatic platter). Drizzle generously with the saffron yogurt, then sprinkle the pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and basil leaves. Serve.