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Roasted Eggplant Salad

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Roasted Eggplant Salad
Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

Roasted eggplant salad is one of my favorite Turkish appetizers. It's traditionally eaten as a cold starter, or 'meze,' but I also like to serve it as a dip or spread at parties.

Eggplant salad has only three main ingredients, but it's actually quite time-consuming to prepare. Roasting the eggplants takes the most time, but it's definitely worth it.

To make things easier, you can substitute canned eggplant, although the taste is never quite as fresh. You can find roasted eggplant near the pickles or canned vegetable section of your supermarket, or in Middle Eastern and Turkish grocers.

If you love anything with eggplant, a spoonful of this light, fluffy salad will carry you away. But you have to get the consistency just right, or you may be disappointed.

A good blend is light in color and texture, with just the right amount of olive oil. Too much oil can make it heavy and overpower the wonderful, smoky flavor of the eggplant.

You'll also need a strong wrist to whip it with a fork to the perfect consistency. Don't use a blender or your salad will be watery.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 large globe eggplants
  • 4 to 5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise or strained yogurt (Greek yogurt) (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. First, roast your eggplants on the grill and remove the pulp. Learn how to do it here.

    How to Fire-Roast Eggplants

  2. Once you've extracted the flesh and discarded the skin and seeds, use it right away. If not, let the pulp sit in a bowl with some water and lemon juice in it. This prevents the eggplant from darkening. If you're using canned eggplant, skip the steps above.

  3. Put your eggplant into a fine wire strainer and squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer the pulp into a mixing bowl.

  4. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper and optional crushed garlic. With a fork, whip the mixture until it becomes homogenous, light and fluffy with no large chunks or strings of eggplant. This can take a while. You may have to take several breaks in between to rest your arm.

  5. Once the puree is ready, you can gently stir in your optional mayonnaise or yogurt. Chill before serving.

The tradional way to eat eggplant salad is straight up as an appetizer or salad. It's also delcious spread on crunchy crackers, melba toast or toasted bread.
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