Hailed as the balsamic vinegar of the future -- and about time! -- pomegranate molasses is a Middle Eastern staple that's just beginning to come into its own in western kitchens. A tart, bittersweet syrup available at specialty and gourmet shops as well as Arabic grocers like Alvand (214 Augusta, 416-597-2252) and NASR (1996 Lawrence East, 416-757-1611), this versatile elixir adds oomph to chicken dishes and vinaigrettes. You can even add a few drops to a vodka martini. Try that with balsamic vinegar!
Here's a recipe from Taste TV chef David Rosengarten for Eggplant With Pomegranate Sauce. The day before you plan to serve the dish, remove the stems and slice 11/2 pounds of Asian eggplants lengthwise in half-inch strips. Preheat your oven to 425º F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Spread the eggplant slices on the baking sheet in a single layer and brush with 11/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes per side or until golden brown. With a spatula, transfer the slices, overlapping slightly, to a shallow dish. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a small crushed and minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend well. Drizzle the dressing over the eggplant. Top with 2 tablespoons fresh mint, 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley and an optional sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand or refrigerate overnight until ready to serve at room temperature.