Caviar of the poor

Eggplant or Aubergine

Eggplant, or aubergine, is generally considered the Israeli national vegetable, and every cook in Israel knows a hundred ways to prepare it.And preparing eggplant for your salad, you can choose different ways to do that; raw, grilled, smoked, cooked, baked and more ways (the sky is the limit). The most flavorful way to prepare the eggplant for the salad is to place it whole and unpeeled over a charcoal grill and allow it to blacken until soft inside. Failing that, you can place it over a gas flame on top of the stove, where it makes a bit of a mess as its liquid drips but it still emits a smoky flavor. Otherwise, it can be placed under a broiler (grill).

  • About 2 lb (1 kg) large dark eggplants (aubergines)
  • 1/ 4 c up (60 ml) olive or sunflower oil
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar, according to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Garlic, crushed then chopped (optional)

  1. Roast the eggplant as described above.
  2. When completely soft, blackened, and caved in, remove from heat.
  3. Do not rinse eggplant after it blackens.
  4. Place eggplant on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, slit it open and tilt the board over a sink to allow the liquid inside to run off.
  5. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle but still warm, use the knife to remove the peel and seeds.
  6. The consistency of the salad depends on the method used for pulping the eggplant.
  7. Mashing it with a fork or pressing it through a potato masher results in a thick, pulpy mixture.
  8. Placing it in a food processor makes a smooth puree.
  9. I like to mash it with the spine of a knife.
  10. When the eggplant is mashed, place the pulp in a bowl and add the oil slowly while stirring, blending it in well.
  11. Add the lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, and salt to taste.
  12. This should all be done while the eggplant is still warm.
  13. Lots of garlic can be added to make a dish that is called “caviar of the poor.”

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