Melitzanosalata is a Greek eggplant dip made with eggplants which can be grilled over charcoal or charred over an open flame to get a smoky taste.
If you cannot cook them either way, you can still grill them in the oven, until soft. When I do that, I add some smoked paprika (sweet or hot) for the smoky taste.
One day I made tyrokafteri and had a leftover hot pepper. When I made the melitzanosalata, I mashed the hot pepper as well and loved it. Ever since, if I don’t have some fresh hot pepper, I add some harissa or chili or hot paprika.
The classic Melitzanosalata recipe is without Piperies Florinis (roasted Peppers) but when I have some at home I always love adding them as they add a sweet flavour to this already wonderful dip.
Melitzanosalata or Eggplant Salad
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes on open flame or 45 minutes in the oven
Yield: 1 cup
- 2 – 3 eggplants (depending on the type) about 500 grams (1.1 lb)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or more cloves minced/crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp paprika
- A pinch of harissa or chili powder (optional)
- Parsley or olive to decorate (optional)
- Cook the eggplants on open flame until the flesh has charred and the interior is tender, for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Alternatively, if you are already baking something in the oven, pierce them with a fork and grill in a preheated oven to 200o C / 400o F for 40 – 60 minutes, turning them once.
- Allow to cool and carefully remove the charred skin.
- Pound the garlic with the salt using a pestle and mortar. Mash the flesh of the eggplants using a fork. Add the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika and olive oil and mix until creamy. For some heat, add the harissa as well.
- Garnish with finely chopped parsley or an olive on top.
- Serve with Pita bread or vegetable sticks.
If baking them in the oven, add smoked paprika to get the smoky flavour.
If you want a smoother texture, you can purée all the ingredients in a food processor.
Feta can also be added in the dip to make it more creamy.
Update: 8th January 2008.
Whilst preparing Papoutsakia (stuffed eggplants) I kept thinking what should I do with all this eggplant flesh I was scooping out of the eggplant?
Shall I make melitzanosalata (meaning eggplant salad but it is actually a dip)? I was skeptical as I knew that to make melizanosalata, the eggplants should be pierced with a fork and baked either in the oven, grilled or best to be charcoaled so as to have a smoky taste.
Then I thought that we don’t always charcoal the eggplants, so when baking the eggplants in the oven there is no smoky taste. Why then do we do this? The reason is that we want the inside part to become soft and in any case we discard the outer part. So, why not make melitzanosalata or eggplant dip?
I gave it a quick thought, thinking that I had nothing to loose as the oven had to be preheated for the papoutsakia and the worse scenario was that I would be charged a little bit more with electricity bill. I grabbed a piece of aluminum foil and start putting the eggplants in there, added a couple tablespoons olive oil and folded them. I baked them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 200o C / 400o F. I tried mashing them with a fork and saw it was quite soft, so I set it aside to cool down and put the poupoutsakia in the oven to bake.
Note: as you will see in the pictures the eggplants do not have many seeds inside. If yours have seeds, you can remove them if you don’t like the seeds in the dip.
Again I kept thinking ways to prepare it. Shall I make the classic Greek dip or shall I make an eggplant “real” salad, or shall I make half the mixture into a classic dip and the rest should I deep freeze it to prepare some more another day? I rejected the last thought and I said to myself,“Why not make both?”
I quickly peeled three cloves of garlic, wrapped them into a small piece of aluminum foil and placed it in a corner, where the papoutsakia were baking. I left it there for half an hour.
When the eggplants cooled a little, I started by mashing them and tasted them. The flavor was good and not bitter as I was afraid it could be, so now I could proceed and use the flesh.
I added the olive oil and mixed it with the fork, added salt and mixed it again until the oil was absorbed.
I then peeled and cut a small onion in two. I cut the half into smaller pieces and placed it in a food processor, I also peeled a clove of garlic and added that as well and pureed them.I opened the food processor but the mixture was still in small pieces. I added a spoonful of olive oil and a spoonful of wine vinegar and half the pulp and mashed them again. Now it was nice and creamy. I tried it and found the taste perfect. I did not need to add anything more.
All I had to do was to put it in a small bowl and decorated it with an olive. Et voilá!
Now I started preparing what I wanted to make of an eggplant salad. I finely chopped and I mean really finely chopped the other half of the onion and added it into the eggplant. I mashed the roasted garlic with a fork and added it as well. I finely chopped some parsley and added two spoonfuls to the other mixture;
I peeled a ripe tomato and cut it in the middle. Half of it I cut into small cubes and added it as well. I added one teaspoonful of capers. Here, I had the dilemma if I should add balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar. I preferred the latter but I am sure that it would also be great with balsamic vinegar as well.
Now for seasoning I added, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, smoked paprika and pepper. I mixed them well and placed them in a small platter, which I decorated with the remaining half tomato, some olives and sprinkled some parsley on top. Finally, I sprinkled some paprika on top as well.
The result was excellent, more than I thought it would be.
This is my entry for Leftover Tuesdays #11 hosted by Pamat Project Foodie.
Melitzanosalata and Ivy’s Eggplant Salad
Ingredients for both:
- The flesh of five eggplants
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
For Melitzanosalata (Eggplant dip):
- (Half of above mixture)
- ½ medium onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 spoonful of olive oil
- 1 spoonful of wine vinegar
- All above, blended in multi mulinette.
For Ivy’s eggplant salad:
- Remaining ½ of above mixture
- 1 tomato
- 3 spoonfuls of finely chopped parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic (roasted)
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp capers
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Some olives
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,