March 19, 2011

The Best Thing We ate in Turkey

We can now make at home!

We had the most delicious eggplant salad in Turkey at this great little family owned restaurant and it left such an impression on us as one of the best things we ate during our trip. I searched for Turkish Eggplant Salad recipes when I came home, coming up with a lot of babaganoush of course! But that was NOT what we had.

Finally, I struck gold with a recipe that had a picture and it looked pretty close to what we ate.

We did a Mediterranean food night the other week and made the eggplant salad, enjoyed some yummy pita (ok store bought) and some grape leaves (also, purchased from a great little restaurant near my office for 3 bucks for a dozen!).

The salad was WONDERFULLY yummy - maybe I added more tomato than what was in it when we had it in Turkey but it was pretty close. I am thinking we may have had it with white eggplants though, as the texture of the eggplant seemed a bit different than what we had. Either way it was still fantastic.

I took a container of it in to work as well and it received rave reviews. This is surely something I think would be great to make this summer when the gardens and farmer's markets are plentiful - it would be great at a cookout with some pitas.

We did like it with the pita, but we had it with this wonderful fluffy light bread in Turkey. Thankfully I had a bit of Italian bread left in the house and we both agreed it was MUCH better with bread than pita, it really gets the juices soaked in and the flavors are stand out much more on bread than pita. But really both are equally yummy!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Roasted Eggplant Salad

2 medium eggplants
1-2 cubanelle peppers (one was PLENTY for us, we're not pepper eaters)
1 tomato, diced - or use some halved/quartered grape tomatoes
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
½ lemon’s juice
2-3 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt to taste

To prepare the sauce, place lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic in a wide bowl and whisk to emulsify.
Now, you can roast the eggplants and peppers whole until they are tender, then remove them from the oven, remove the skins, etc. However, I was lazy and just peeled and diced the eggplant and roasted it with some oil and salt in the oven on 425 for about 40 minutes - tossing throughout. For the pepper, I roasted over my gas flame on the stove, then removed the skin, seeds/stem and chopped.

Now about 10 minutes near the end, I added the peppers in to the oven with the eggplant, and 5 minutes to go, I added in the tomato to soften that a bit too - but next time, I would not do that with the tomato - it was certainly more fresh how we had it in Turkey and not cooked.

Once your veggies are roasted (either pre-diced or dicing after they are roasted), toss everything in to the sauce and toss to coat.

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