I am absolutely, utterly, fantastically, magnificently, with all my heart, in love with eggplant. Period.
Oh my, I will almost eat that thing raw! But, not this time. This time I roasted it as a whole in the oven and mixing with a few more simple and tasty ingredients, I made this salad.
I saw the original recipe in Mezze cookbook I bought over a year ago. I made my own little changes: reduced the amount of some of the other ingredients, roasted the garlic and used tomato instead of red pepper because, a. I love tomatoes, b. that was what I had at home!
Roasting whole eggplant is quite easy, but a long process. It took me 1.5 hours in 200C oven to get the whole thing soft and juicy. So be careful with timing when you want to try this recipe and plan accordingly.
Roasting garlic is rather easier though. It takes 40 minutes and you get juicy and soft garlic with a slight nutty flavour in the end. I recommend roasting garlic whenever you have time, honestly! Garlic is already a divine ingredient, but roasting it takes the whole thing up to a whole new level.
By the way, you can also grill the eggplants if it is grilling season or if you have a gas stove. It changes the taste but it is equally delicious. I have a gas stove and sometimes smoke the eggplant on the fire – it is slightly messy and you need to be careful but oh boy it IS absolutely delicious – just like many other things cooked directly on fire.
So go ahead, give it a try! Yummy eggplants!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium) (only because it takes time…)
(serves 2 if you want a big decent amount of salad, or 4 if you want to use it like a dipping sauce – yes, it is also possible to eat like that)
3 big eggplants, washed and dried
4 garlic cloves, outer papery skin taken off, harder skin left on
1 big tomato, diced as small as possible
2 spring onions, both white and green parts, chopped finely
a small bunch of parsley, about 4 tbsp, chopped coarsely
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate syrup (you can find this in ethnic market in Helsinki, such as Alanya Market in Itäkeskus or Hauler market in Kaisaniemi. If you cannot find anywhere, then use freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put a baking paper on an oven tray and set aside.
2. Prick the eggplants with a fork all over. Put garlic cloves with hard skin on a piece of aluminium folio and drizzle olive oil. Cover the folio and put eggplants and garlic on the oven tray. Roast them in the middle rack: garlic for about 40 minutes, eggplants for about 1.5 hours. For eggplants: turn them over using tongs around 40 minutes mark so that all sides are roasted well. The eggplants should be very very soft in the end, so if you think your oven needs more time, then leave them in the oven longer. Once roasted, let them cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, or your fingers will burn in the next step.
3. Cut eggplants in the middle and scoop out the flesh into your salad plate and chop coarsely.
4. Peel garlic and smash / chop finely (they will be so soft that chopping will actually turn out to be smashing as well). Add them to eggplants and mix well.
5. Add tomato, spring onions and parsley and mix.
6. Add salt and pepper and mix.
7. Add olive oil and pomegranate syrup (or lemon juice) and mix well. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve fresh or as a cold mezze. Enjoy!