It’s been a full week since Thanksgiving, and I never got around to the obligatory “Here’s what I’m thankful for” post. I guess I’ve just been a little busy. Horrible excuse, I know. But one could say I’ve been busy being thankful. Thankful for a loving husband and wonderful family to spend time with and do nice things for (more on that later); thankful for having the means to buy nice things for myself and others; thankful for my health and my capacity to keep taking care of my body. In other words, it was a jam-packed long weekend.
And if I may throw another out there, here’s something else I’ve had to be thankful for over the last 3+ years: all of the good things that come from blogging. Sure, there were other ways to share and discover new recipes before this form of social media took over kitchens everywhere. Remember newspapers, PBS cooking shows, and recipe chain letters? Of course they still exist, but I’d be willing to bet that writers and fans of food blogs have exponentially increased access to a wealth of recipes around the world. And as a result, are cooking things far different than what they grew up with, and impacting the others in the process.
Don’t believe me? Take this example. A while back the writer of The Taste Space discovered my little place on the web and left me a sweet note. It only took a quick peak at that blog revealed gorgeous photos and beautiful Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, and I immediately began following. Very soon after that, she posted a recipe for eggplant and salmon with a pomegranate glaze, originally from Paula Wofert’s cookbook The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. I couldn’t get the recipe out of my head, and soon prepared my own rendition, thoroughly impressed by the fresh, clean ingredients and interesting spices.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, when Shuli from Food Wanderings was giving away a copy of Wofert’s new book: Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking. Recognizing that I had already made and loved one of Paula’s recipes, I knew this would be a great book for my collection – and lucky me, I won it! I received my copy in the mail last week. Although it was a crazy busy weekend like I said, I had a few minutes to start flipping through the pages; enough to wet my palette with the sweet and spicy aromas of Mediterranean ingredients artfully combined in vivid earthen cookware reminiscent of a far away time and place. All of a sudden, my previously-empty Hanukkah wish list was full of clay pots and pans. But never one to totally rely on others, I headed to a craft fair with my new inspiration, later returning home with several gorgeous pieces of handmade clay cookware. Paula Wofert officially had her newest fan, some local artists got supported, and my kitchen is soon to be filled with a world of new tastes, smells and colors. All because of a few food bloggers.
So back to this recipe. It combines some of my favorite foods – salmon, eggplant, and lentils – with the tart and versatile flavor of pomegranate. The pomegranate flavor is slight, but as Taste Space noted, it was most highlighted in the eggplant. I changed it up a little by wrapping the slices of eggplant around the salmon and serving it with a warm lentil salad. This easy and elegant dish is surely one we’ll be enjoying again soon.
2 6oz wild Alaskan sockeye salmon filets, skin removed
1 small to medium eggplant (about 8z) sliced thinly
freshly ground salt & pepper
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses, diluted in 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup (90gm) dried brown lentils
3 cups of water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
To prepare the lentils, combine the lentils with the water or broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-35 minutes, until just tender. Drain the lentils, reserving some of the liquid.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions for about 5-8 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the coriander, cumin, and the drained lentils and saute for a few more minutes, adding a bit of the reserved broth to moisten if needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Stir in parsley. Set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Arrange eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet and spray both sides with olive oil cooking spray. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and preheat to 350ºF.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, wrap a few slices around each piece of fish and gently place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the chopped scallions and parsely, and drizzle with the diluted pomegranate molasses. Bake for about 10 minutes, occasionally pausing to spoon the liquid over the fish. Remove from oven when salmon is just opaque. Serve with the warm lentils.
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 19.8 g
Cholesterol: 105.0 mg
Sodium: 99.1 mg
Total Carbs: 43.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 17.1 g
Protein: 49.8 g