If there was one fruit that I have been eagerly waiting all summer, it is the pomegranate. There are two varieties in the orchard, one which is sweet and suitable for eating; the other is sour, only suitable for molasses.
The good news is Beirut is stuffed with juice shops and you can order a tall fresh and sweet pomegranate juice for less than $2. The US dollar is widely used in Lebanon and is the currency of choice.
A rural dish from Chef Ramzi’s Culinary Heritage of Lebanon which consists in making pita croutons, frying eggplant chunks, dressing them with sumac, garlic, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. Topping the plate with eggs fried in olive oil.
If all that frying is problematic, then of course the croutons can be brushed in olive oil lightly and toasted; the eggplants can be treated in the same manner and the eggs can be poached.
- 1 large loaf of thin pita bread, cut in small squares
- olive oil, as needed
- 2 eggplants. large variety (or one pound of the small eggplants)
- 2 pomegranates
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of sumac
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
- 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt, as needed
- Place the pita croutons in a 325F oven, sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the surface, mix it well and bake for 15 minutes until the croutons are browned and crisp. (Or fry in oil, the traditional way!)
- Peel the eggplant and cut in slices. Sprinkle some salt and let them sweat for one hour. Rinse the salt off with a towel and fry or roast in the oven with some olive oil brushed on the surface, until they are soft and browned in spots.
- Cut the eggplants in chunks. Make the dressing: mash the garlic and place in a bowl, add one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, a tablespoon of sumac and 1/3 cup of olive oil.
- Seed the pomegranate and place the seeds aside. Heat some oil and fry the eggs, set them on paper towels to soak up the oil.
- Assemble the dish. Mix the dressing and pour onto the eggplant chunks, mixed with the pomegranate seeds. Place the eggplant mixture on top of the pita croutons and place the fried eggs on top of that. Serve.
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