Roasted whole eggplant is a beautiful dish that not too many people know about. It’s very middle Eastern and in season you’ll find it served in many restaurants. Let’s first start with how to buy an eggplant. It should be heavy (ie full of moisture), with shiny skin and few if any blemishes. Lighter eggplants are already dehydrated and not advised to buy. Once you buy it don’t let it linger in the fridge to dehydrate, cook it as soon as you can.
To cook: set the eggplant on a baking sheet lined with parchment and make a slit with a knife on the top to allow steam to escape. Roast uncovered in a preheated 450F oven or on a grill. If you roast on a grill keep turning it so it blackens on all sides. If you roast in the oven leave it as until it is dark and somewhat collapsed.
Once cooked and soft to your satisfaction remove from oven and carefully expand the slit you have already made to open it up. What you want to do is remove the charred skin without messing up the shape of the eggplant. You want to keep it whole as much as possible. It’s hard to tell from the pics but the eggplant flesh is whole and did not l;oose it’s shape.
To serve schmear garlicky, lemony tahini sauce on the plate (see below), top with the whole eggplant, drizzle with pomegranate molasses and more tahini, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a couple of confit cherry tomatoes (see below).
Lemony Tahini Sauce
Make the tahini sauce by thinning out 1/3 cup tahini paste with enough water to make it a sauce consistency (like thick cream). Squeeze a lemon wedge (or two) over, grate garlic into it and season with salt.
Confit Cherry Tomatoes
To make confit cherry tomatoes, which is a useful thing to have in the kitchen, place a bunch of cherry tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with plenty of oil (they should be partly submerged in oil but not covered). Season liberally with salt. Place in 250F oven and cook gently until the tomatoes are soft but still whole. Adjust salt and pepper if you wish and keep refrigerated in a jar in the fridge.