On the same day I had my flat tire, complete with 2 exploded inner tubes while trying to repair it, I had this for dinner.
Having a couple of lackluster dishes the week before, I was a bit uneasy about trying a new recipe.
But I had a hankering for fish and wanted to try it with my new favourite ingredient, pomegranate molasses. Plus, there was the bonus of roasted eggplant, with this Georgian recipe I spotted in The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean by Paula Wolfert.
The original recipe suggested rainbow trout, but my love for salmon won that battle.
The dish was not what I expected but it was delicious. At first, I was hoping for something with a sharp tanginess from the pomegranate molasses, but this was mellow. The pomegranate flavour was mainly in the eggplant, which sopped up the basting liquid. The salmon was nice and flakey, but not infused with much pomegranate flavour. It was there, only subtly. But once you wrapped the salmon in some pomegranate roasted eggplant, this is where you made magic. Eating the two together is where you get the merriment of the flavours, the contrast of textures and simply a great meal. It made my inner tube worries melt away…
Salmon Fillets with Eggplant and Pomegranate
4 6-oz salmon fillets (or red-meat rainbow trout), about 1 inch thick, skin on
1 8-oz Japanese eggplant, stemmed and bottom end trimmed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I used a lot less)
1-1/2 tbsp green onions, chopped
4 tbsp fresh basil, shredded (may include fresh coriander, but I omitted it and increased the basil)
2 tsp pomegranate molasses, diluted in 1/3 cup water
1. Salt the fish and let stand 1 hour (I didn’t do this).
2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Sprinkle the flesh with 1 tsp coarse sea salt. Stack in layers in a non-reactive colander and press down with a weight. Let stand 30 minutes.
3. Rinse and dry the eggplant. Brush with olive oil and broil until golden brown on both sides. I flipped them after 7 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Arrange the fish in a 9×9″ baking and serving dish. Sprinkle with pepper. Spread the green onions and basil over top. Baste with half of the pomegranate glaze. Cover with overlapping slices of eggplant. Bake, basting with the pomegranate glaze half-way through, until the salmon is done, about 20 minutes.
5. Serve warm with a sprinkle of coriander and parsley as a garnish (which I omitted).