(Chef’s notes: The 2013 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot pairs wonderfully with charred eggplant and plays well with the bright acidity in the vinaigrette. The soft notes in the wine are an excellent pairing with the Urfa Chili.)

Makes 4 Servings

4 medium Italian eggplants

2 small shallots sliced very thin

2 pomegranate- 1 juiced and other seeds removed and cleaned

½ tsp Urfa chili

1 Tb. honey

½ cup Chevre at room temperature

¼ cup heavy cream

1 small fresh bay leaf

½ Tb. fresh thyme leaves

¼ bunch cilantro-half chopped other half of leaves picked and reserved

3 to 4 cloves of garlic finely minced

½ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup Merlot

olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 F°. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and then slice each half into thirds like eggplant smiles, brush with olive oil and season with salt. Char on both sides in cast iron pan until eggplant turns almost black. Remove and continue with rest of eggplant. Roast all eggplant in oven for an additional 7-10 minutes until eggplant is tender but not too soft. Bring red wine, garlic and vinegar to simmer; set aside. When eggplant is done; dice eggplant into large pieces and place into large bowl and pour wine and garlic mixture over eggplant and mix well. Leave at room temperature. Bring heavy cream and bay leaf to simmer, cool, remove bay leaf and mix with Chevre, season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

To plate:  Spread ½ the goat cheese mixture on large platter. Toss eggplant with shallot, pomegranate juice, ½ the pomegranate seeds, thyme, chopped cilantro, Urfa chili, honey and 2 ½ Tb. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Place eggplant over Chevre, top with pomegranate seeds, cilantro leaves and reserved Chevre mixture.

Serve with 2013 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot, Winter 2016 Cellar Circle selection

Recipe Compliments of Executive Chef Seth Fernald

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