4 pounds eggplants (about 3 large)
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To garnish:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped scallions and/or sliced radishes

Wash and dry eggplants. Cut a hole in the middle of three large squares of aluminum foil, to form "collars" for 3 stove top gas burners to alleviate cleanup. If you have them, place a rack over each burner to hold the eggplant (cooling racks may also be used.)

For best flavor, char the eggplants directly on a gas burner. If your stovetop is electric, broil the eggplants on an oven rack close to the broiler element, until blackened, turning occasionally. Place a parchment-lined pan under them to keep the oven clean.

Put an eggplant on each one of the burners and roast over medium heat, turning occasionally, till blackened on all sides and tender when pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Use two large kitchen spoons to transfer one eggplant at a time to a cutting board. Let cool until easy to handle.

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the insides. Discard the skin. Hand-chop the eggplant flesh with a chopping knife till there are no coarse lumps or strips, or use a food processor with a few short pulses. Transfer to a bowl.

Using a fork, mix in the lemon juice and pomegranate seeds, then gently whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour onto a large plate and smooth out with a knife. Garnish with chopped mint and scallions or radish slices.

(May be made several hours in advance, covered with plastic wrap and chilled till serving time. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Serve with challah, toast or crackers.

Makes 6 servings.



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Revised: 09/24/13 10:19:59 -0400.