Eggplant Salad with Persian Green Sauce
Eggplant salad has been called the poor man’s caviar. This creamy treat is a traditional dish in the Middle East and in North Africa. Eggplants are also popular in Asia. This dish makes a great appetizer or side dish. If you have never tried eggplant salad, you are in for a wonderful surprise. They are full of flavor and texture. They make a terrific fancy appetizer.
Eggplants are related to tomatoes and potatoes. They are very perishable, so take care when storing them. Eggplants are sensitive to both cold and heat. The best temperature to store them is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not cut or wash the eggplants until you are ready to use them. Take care to use stainless steel when cutting your eggplants. Carbon steel knives will make the eggplant turn black. A medium eggplant is around a pound and will serve up to three people.
Eggplants are staples in many cuisines around the world, including Italian, Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern. This unique vegetable is not as popular in the United States. Until the 20th century, many parts of Europe thought that eggplants caused cancer, leprosy, bad breath, and madness. It was not until the last century that they discovered how delicious eggplants truly are. Eggplants can be fried, steamed, sautéed, or baked. The spongy flesh of the vegetable soaks up the flavors of other ingredients easily, which is why this salad is so very tasty. The eggplant takes on the flavors of the olive oil, onion, and lemon juice.
- 4 eggplants
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt
- 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
- Juice of 1-2 limes, to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey, or to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place your eggplants in the dish. Roast them for 30 to 45 minutes. The eggplant should become tender and soft.
- Let the eggplants cool. Rinse them with cold water. Peel the skin and remove all the seeds. Use a spoon to remove the pulp to a medium size mixing bowl. Add the onions to the pulp and mash it all together.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Place in serving dishes.
- For the sauce, chop the cilantro. You should end up with around a cup, loosely packed.
- Crush the garlic and chop it coarsely.
- Split the jalapeno and take out the seeds.
- Place all of it in a food processor with the yogurt and lime juice. Pulse until the cilantro looks like small flecks. Season to taste.
- Pour some of the sauce around the plated eggplant salad. Top the salad with chives, fresh greens, or whatever else you may have on hand.
Our Eggplant Salad with Persian Green Sauce can be as formal or casual as you like. In our photo, we made it look very formal by shaping the salad and topping it with garnish. You can use tomato, peppers, chives, greens, or even shrimp as garnish. Eggplant salad is a traditional dish in North Africa and the Middle East, so the Persian Green Sauce is a good accompaniment. If you do not want to go to so much trouble, just place a scoop of the salad on a plate and serve it with the sauce.
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