Grilled Eggplant With Labneh, Pomegranate, Sumac & Sesame Oil

By Carol Dudar

Photos By Jeff Coulson

A delicious starter for your Moroccan feast, rich in flavour and character. Simple ingredients, thoughtfully paired, result in a stunning appetizer. (Serves 4)

Eggplant

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small globe eggplants, halved vertically
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) sesame oil, plus more for brushing on eggplant
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tbsp (60ml) pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tsp (5ml) sumac sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) lemon zest
  • 10 small mint leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the grill pan to medium high heat. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with sesame oil and lightly season with sea salt, sumac and pepper. Grill the eggplant halves on both sides for about 8 min or until well grilled, softened, and cooked thoroughly.

Meanwhile mix the 2 tbsp of sesame oil with the minced garlic.

When ready to serve, transfer eggplant to serving dish, dollop a spoonful of Labneh on top of each one, drizzle each with a teaspoon or so of garlic sesame oil mixture, and pomegranate molasses, and sprinkle all with sumac, lemon zest, black pepper, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves.

* TIP: serve with more pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses, and mint leaves and let your guests add more pizzazz to their taste.

Labneh (make 24hr ahead of time if using)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) Greek style yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5ml) lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the yogurt, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl, and mix well.

Transfer the mixture into a double layered cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl than can suspend the strainer. Twist the cheesecloth edges into a tight bundle and tie the the neck of the bundle with string. Keep the bundle in the strainer over the bowl in the fridge for 12hrs or until mixture has thickened.

Remove Labneh from cheesecloth, and transfer to clean bowl and mix in the 1 tsp lemon zest.

Cover Labneh and return to fridge until ready to use.