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The world of fermentation.
This dish of roasted eggplant garnished with a salad of fresh fennel and herbs is elegant yet easy. The contrast in texture between silky eggplant and crisp fennel, along with the tart-sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses and lemon juice and the freshness of parsley and mint creates layers of delicious complexity. Dark, viscous pomegranate molasses, often used in Middle Eastern cooking, is pomegranate juice that has been reduced to a syrupy consistency. Look for it sold in bottles in the international aisle of the grocery store or in Middle Eastern markets; if you can, choose, one without any added sugar or coloring.
1-pound eggplants, trimmed, peeled lengthwise in sections (creating a striped effect), then cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
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