Hatzil haBait – Our House Eggplant – חציל הבּית

It is amazing that one works way more than usual reduced to part-time work. Is it only me, or the whole computerized world turned this way? In any case, I cannot complaint given that many people  completely lost their jobs and, unfortunately, countless others – their lives. I am one of the lucky ones, and I feel it thanking Gd every morning for allowing me to open my eyes again.

During the last month I have lost all sense of smell, and now, when it is slowly creeping back, I am delighted to to make things that have a satisfying aroma. I was really scared. Sense of smell – no big deal, right? However, I love smelling things. I usually start my day inhaling my favorite lemon essential oil. I finish it by putting a drop of lavender oil under my pillow. I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans in the morning! And – I cook and bake all the time. How would I live without it?!

Thankfully, I am now able to smell coffee as if it was prepared outside my door. Hoping for the full return!

Meanwhile, one of the great-smelling (if you are like me and love the garlic smell fresh out of the oven) dishes has become our staple for Shabbat. We have tried it in multiple variations, so I am going to mark ‘optional’ things that can be changed or omitted. I trust that you will like it any way you make it.

For 3 medium-sized firm eggplants
1 big red onion fresh or pickled thinly sliced
3-5 big cloves of garlic pushed through a garlic-press
About 1/3 of a pickled lemon (optional) chopped into small cubes
Juice of 1/3 or 1/2 lemon depending on your taste
Olive oil
Small bunch of parsley and cilantro mix chopped
1-2 tablespoons of Pomegranate sauce (нашарап) or molasses. You can find kosher Pomegranate sauce in many Russian or Middle Eastern stores now.
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cut the eggplants into thick rounds and lay them on a sheet of paper towels. Generously salt them. Leave them for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the greens. And cut the lemon into small pieces.

Pat-dry the eggplant and bake it on a well-oiled baking sheet at 420F for about 10 min on one side. Turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes, or broil them for 5 minutes if you prefer.

Carefully lay out eggplants in layers alternating with lemons, onion, greens and squished garlic (use the garlic press) Drizzle some pomegranate sauce over each layer. If you feel that your eggplants are a bit dry, add a couple of drops of olive oil.

This dish,  surprisingly, becomes even better on the next day. And, if you are like me, you can then put the leftovers in the middle of the layers of leftover cooked rice, noodles, etc. and toast to warm up in the oven for a quick lunch. That’s what I had to do today when I literary had only 15 minutes to spare.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Stay healthy!

 

 

 

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