Eggplant is THE national vegetable of Turkey, and they are everywhere. Appetizers, salads, casseroles, fried, stuffed and pickled, even pureed eggplant, served with a nice lamb stew with a strange name…
When we traveled around Turkey, I was fascinated with this fact, and wanted to try all possible preparations of eggplant. Even though I start getting bored of it toward the end (remember? I love VARIETY, so too much of the same thing, even if it’s wonderful AND prepared differently it’s bad news for me), I faithfully ate all the eggplant that showed up in front of me, and some extra on my husband’s plate.
As you can imagine, when we came back, I had to go cold turkey with eggplant. I even avoided the eggplant section at Berkeley Bowl, my favorite gourmet grocery store in our neighborhood, especially because they have 10 different kinds of eggplant (and 20 differnt kind of radishes) and I did not see any. At all!
But my effort was in vein. It didn’t last that long.
It was such a great trip, my husband and I shared the stories and photos with many friends as well as among ourselves. And you know what happens. Maybe it’s only me, but the conversation always end up “Oh, and such and such at this place was so delicious!” and many of them were eggplant dishes.
So quite a few eggplant dishes started to end up on our dinner table, (almost) night after night. We even visited our local Turkish restaurant with our friends within a month of our return (they didn’t know it wasn’t our first time to have Turkish dishes after we left). Finally my husband had to force me to stop the eggplant experimentation. Crazy me!
One of the dishes I make often since that trip is Patlican Salatasi, pureed eggplant salad, actually more like dip.
It’s super easy and refreshing, and in my humble opinion, better than bababanouj, because you don’t need any “exotic” ingredients like tahini (sesame paste).
The good news is there are two versions. One is with yogurt, and another without. The Kitchen Wizard kind of split recipe indeed. So either split the recipe in half and try both at the same time, or enjoy the no-yogurt version first, then add yogurt later.
If you are splitting the recipe, start with less lemon juice, since the one with yogurt will get more tang from whey in yogurt.
Serve them with toasted pita chips, crusty bread or crackers.
Turkish Eggplant Salad
- Grilled eggplant (about 1 cup)
- 2 or more cloves, garlic, minced
- 2 TBS or more Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- lemon juice to taste
- lemon zest to taste
- Combine all the ingredients and puree in food processor or with a stick blender.
- Adjust the seasoning (garlic, EVOO, lemon juice, salt) to taste.
Turkish Eggplant Salad with Yogurt
- Add 1/2 C yogurt to above recipe. Mix well.
- Optional: Top with chopped tomatoes and dill as garnish.
They are easy and the crowd pleaser. My 2 year old nephew Hugo loves it too. He ate it with the dip all over his face! (I forgot to take a photo, so this is actually the ice cream photo just like the last one, but you get the idea.)
So make them for your next party or potluck, and remember to leave me a comment on how you liked it!