Burnt Eggplant with Tahini

Summary: This is a marvelous dish from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. The pomegranate molasses lifts the eggplant-tahini blend to new and sweeter heights.
Prep time is about 25 minutes; cook time 25-60, depending on method used to burn eggplant.

Yield: serves 4-6 


  • 1 large eggplant (or the equivalent of)
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste (stir well)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • seeds from 1/2 large pomegranate (if in season)
  • 1 mini cucumber (6-7 ounces total), optional
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, optional


Burn the eggplant by placing directly on your burners (if you have a gas stove). Line the bottom of the stovetop first (foil around the burners) to make cleanup easy. Over a moderate fire, roast the eggplant(s) for 12-15 minutes, turning frequently, until flesh is soft and smoky and the skin is burned all over. Don't let it catch fire. You can also do this on a hot grill.
f you have an electric stove, pierce the eggplant with a sharp knife in a few places. Put it on a foil-lined tray and place under a hot broiler for forty-five minutes or an hour, turning it a few times. The eggplant should deflate, and its skin should burn and break.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a colander, tossing out the blackened skin, and let drain for at least 30 minutes.

Chop the eggplant flesh roughly and put in a medium mixing bowl. Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. I find this often needs more garlic, salt, pomegranate molasses and/or lemon juice. You want it to have a robust sour/slightly sweet flavor.

If you want to add diced cucumbers and chopped tomatoes, stir them in or place around the dip.

To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, maybe some more molasses and if you have pomegranate seeds, sprinkle them on as well. This is great with pita, feta, and so forth!