Eric Skokan, farmer and owner of Black Cat Bistro in Boulder, Colorado, enjoys serving this elegant, yet exotic entrée in the winter. The eggplant purée is a variation on the idea of baba ganouj, smoky and delicious. Each fall he grills and smokes mountains of eggplant to make this purée. It freezes well and is very versatile; serve it also with grilled or roasted lamb or pork or with summer vegetables.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/2 cup roasted garlic (see below)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- Lemon juice to taste
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon pork fat or butter
- 1 tablespoon ground dried orange peel
- 1 teaspoon grains of paradise*
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- Over a wood or charcoal fire or an open flame on the stovetop, grill the eggplant until fully charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The eggplant will steam in the bowl as it cools and the skin will loosen. Once cool, peel the eggplant. Rinse under lightly running water if necessary to remove the charred bits.
- Transfer the peeled eggplant to the bowl of a blender. Add the garlic and oils and purée until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey and 1 teaspoon of the ground cardamom. Season with salt, mix well and set aside.
- Season the pork with salt. In a large sauté pan over high heat, sauté in the pork fat until golden. Transfer to a platter to rest.
- Pour off the fat from the pan. Return the pan to the stove over low heat. Add the orange peel, remaining 1 teaspoon cardamom, and the grains of paradise and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons of water and the pomegranate molasses, scraping the browned bits from the pan. When the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from the heat.
- Cut the pork into 2-inch pieces and divide among 4 dinner plates. Garnish with the eggplant purée and honey yogurt. Top the meat with the pomegranate sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.
* Grains of paradise is a West African spice that adds heat to dishes, similar to black pepper, but with a floral-cardamom note. Use it as an easy way to add an exotic touch to grilled meats and vegetables. It should be added only at the end of cooking as its flavor dissipates quickly with heat.
This recipe produces both roasted garlic and richly flavored garlic oil. If the dish you're making calls for pureed garlic, transfer the cloves to a food processor while still hot, which results in a very smooth puree. The leftover oil from this recipe is garlic infused and delicious.
1 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup sunflower oil
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the garlic and oil until the garlic turns golden and softens, about 25 minutes. Using a hand strainer, remove the garlic and strain the oil. Store the roasted garlic and the oil separately in airtight contains for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.