August 3, 2010

Eggplant Salad



My bounteous midsummer garden basket filled early this year because of the weeks of warmer than normal weather. I grow eggplants and peppers on black plastic to warm the soil, and under row covers to keep the plants warm. Above you see the ingredients for a middle eastern eggplant salad, another recipe from my mother, and now a summer favorite for me. The smaller eggplants are from a variety called Diamond and the larger one is a Galine, both suitable for northern climates.




The special smoky flavor of the salad comes from cooking the eggplant over an open flame, which I am doing here directly on the burner of my stove. If you have an outdoor grill going, I imagine that would work really well. Cook the eggplant, whole, turning it so that it cooks all over, until it is blackened and very soft. I poke a two-tined fork into it in places to be sure that it is done.




Split open the cooked eggplants and scrape out the masses of seeds and discard them. Then scoop out the flesh, chop it and place it in a bowl. Small pieces of skin may stick to some of the flesh, but that just adds flavor, so don't try to remove every last bit.

This salad is good with some finely chopped green pepper, some chopped tomatoes, finely chopped onion (I forgot to put an onion in the basket photo), and chopped parsley. These ingredients are very fluid; more or less of any of them won't ruin the salad. Or you can add cucumbers. To give some idea of amounts, I had about 1 1/2 lbs of eggplant. With that I used: 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 medium onion, 8 cherry tomatoes, about 1/2 cup parsley.

Dress with olive oil and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt. Amounts? I used about 3 Tbs olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. It should have a bit of a lemony flavor. I made this for friends a few days ago and it was a big hit. We ate it as an appetizer on my homemade sourdough bread; delicious!


10 comments:

  1. I'm never sure what to do with eggplant, so I avoid it. This looks really good....

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  2. Susan, I also look forward to fried eggplant slices, in a pita bread sandwich. If fried in good olive oil it's delicious. You salt the slices and let stand for 1/2 hour first, which draws out the moisture so they don't absorb so much oil. Then you can also use the fried slices for eggplant parmesan, or cut them in strips and add to tomato sauce for pasta. Yum.

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  3. Ooh I do love eggplant ...and how wonderful to have a family recipe Altoon. Will try and get to cook this one day as I like the simplicity of it...letting the ingredients shine.
    Sophie

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  4. hi Sophie. It's funny about eggplant, that it elicits strong reactions of love or hate. If you love it as we do, you can never have enough.

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  5. Thanks for the clear instructions, it looks great, Altoon. I love eggplant too, and have just discovered another way to use it: roast it as you do, or else cut in half lengthwise and oil the flat surfaces. The put them face down on a cookie sheet or etc and roast about 30 minutes til tender. Remove seeds and skin, and blend the flesh in a food processor with garlic, basil, some salt, a little olive oil, pepper and parsley if you like. You may also add cheese. You have a smooth creamy result which is delicious over pasta (hot), or incorporated into dishes/casseroles as you like. I suppose it might freeze well.

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  6. That sounds delicious too, Emily, thanks.

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    1. Eggplant is awesome. I roast it or saute it both with skin intact. Both ways are delicious.

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  8. How can I roast eggplants over the stove fire without making a mess?

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