Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky; for The Washington Post
Cooking an uncut eggplant directly on top of a grill or on the grates of a gas stove until it is charred and collapsed yields the silky, smoky result that is a defining element of many Mediterranean eggplant salads. This one is made in the Turkish style, with chopped vegetables, herbs, a touch of garlic, lemon and olive oil for sumptuous side dish or as part of a mezze spread.
2 medium globe eggplants (about 14 ounces each)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (from 1 medium bunch parsley)
1/4 medium red onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
Preheat a grill on medium-high heat; lightly oil the grates. Place the whole eggplants on the grill and cook, turning them several times with tongs, until the skin is charred and blistered all around, the eggplants have collapsed, and their juices begin to bubble. Depending on the density of your eggplants, this can take between 15 and 50 minutes. (If using the stove, place a piece of foil around the burner, place the eggplants directly on the grates of the burner over medium-high heat and cook as directed above.)
Transfer the eggplants to a colander set over a bowl or sink to drain for about 15 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.
While the eggplants cool, place the minced garlic in a small mound on a cutting board and sprinkle it with the salt. Use the flat edge of a knife to work the garlic and salt together to form a paste.
Discard the eggplant stems and use your fingers (or a paring knife) to peel off and discard the skin. (It’s okay if some bits of charred skin remain.) Coarsely chop the eggplant flesh (it will be soft; the pieces won’t be clearly defined) and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the tomato, pepper, parsley, onion, lemon juice, oil, pepper and the garlic paste, stirring gently to incorporate. Taste, add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, as needed.
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: Calories 70; Total Fat 3g; (Sat Fat 0g); Protein 2g; Carb 11g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 100mg; Total Sugar 6g (Added Sugar 0 g)