This eggplant salad is e real treat – a genuine gem of salads since it suits almost every dish. I’ve eaten it with everything from fish and chicken to lamb and beef, on top of a piece of toast or as a major or minor part of a genuine Turkish meze table (meze are in fact several different small dishes – mainly consisting of vegetables. It acts as a kind of appetizer, where you take a little bit on the plate of the various small dishes).
We have quite often guests and they very often ask for this eggplant salad (or patlican salatasi as it is called in Turkish) or asks for a recipe. Therefore, I sat down to write this recipe, which I have from my mother in law. You can find many variations of the same recipe but, like in many other cuisines, the Turkish dishes change depending on region and area from which it origins. It’s just little differences such as with or without chili, scallions, red pepper, spices, etc. To make things even more confusing, eggplant salad excists in countless versions from several countries in the Middle East – the most famous is perhaps Baba Ganoush (though it’s not quite the same as this one).
Another reason to love this eggplant salad (besides the health benefits) is, that it is so easy to do and without all sorts of mysterious ingredients. The only thing that is a bit challenging is, that the eggplant (and the red pepper, if you’re use this) must be completely smooth and having skin peeled off, before you chop it. It is best (and taste amazing) if you grill it / them briefly over an open fire, a grill or in a wood stove (oven can also do this, but requires 180 ° C for about 35-40 min). Just right the skin has to bubble and turn slightly black. The eggplant should feel soft and juicy, when you press it, and then it’s ready. I burned, I don’t know how many peppers and eggplants in the stove, so they were completely charred (and you can not use them). So keep an eye on them. Especially the red pepper is a little delicate because of the shell isn’t so thick, so it burns really quickly.
For several years I made this salad without red peppers and was actually quite happy with it (that was how my mother in law made it). But as I have been presented to the Izmir version (from my mother in law no. 3 – there has been some kind of replacements 😀) and I am not sorry. In fact, I have done nothing else since. The only difference is just, that there is added a grilled red pepper, which helps to make the eggplant salad a bit sweeter and add the last Umami. But if you don’t like it, just do it the genuine Antalya-way as the recipe below.
As with all my other recipes, I make them by the eye, so the stated amounts are definitely only “just about” … Sometimes I use more or less of some ingredients depending on what I’m in to.
For a good bowl full – and it might be enough for 4-5 people, if used as accessories, you will need:
2 large eggplants
1 small onion
1-2 red tomatoes, medium size
A good handful of flat-leaf parsley
A little lemon juice
Olive oil (about 50 ml )
Salt and pepper
You may also do as I do and adding a grilled red pepper and a little bit “pul biber” / red chili flakes for a little extra flavor.
Grill the eggplant and pepper and remove the skin. Chop the eggplant very fine, so it almost becomes musts and chop then everything else in small fine cubes. Parsley is also reasonable finely chopped. Mix everything together and add a little lemon juice, pepper and chili and a good splash of olive oil. Stir, season and maybe add a little more of one or the other. Wait adding the salt until you serve the dish. I have experience that the salt pulls too much moisture out of the tomatoes and the onions, and then the salad becomes too liquid.
This salad is formidable with a steak, on top of a slightly alternative burger, with lamb or just as it is. However, my favorite is together with the original Turkish köfte (you can find the recipe here).
Afiyet olsun – Enjoy the refreshments.