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Melitzanosalata I: Eggplant Dip Appetizer with Tomato

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Eggplant dip
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In Greek: μελιτζανοσαλάτα, pronounced meh-leed-zah-no-sah-LAH-tah

If you are a devoted fan of the traditional, cook the eggplant over a wood fire - or add wood chips to a charcoal grill and cook it for that deep, smoky taste. This version is easier and delivers a tasty result, and includes chopped tomatoes.

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium large dark eggplant
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 shallots or 5 scallions (just the bulb, no stems), minced
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes (plum if possible, do not substitute with canned), seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Pierce the eggplant with a fork and char it on the grill, or over an open flame until the eggplant turns black and is very soft. (Alternatively, broil for 10-15 minutes.) Set to cool and drain on a rack with paper towels underneath.

As soon as it can be handled, peel. The skin will come off easily by hand. Place in a bowl and chop with two knives. With a wooden spoon, stir in garlic, onions (shallots or scallions), tomatoes, and herbs. Mix the oil and lemon juice well and add slowly, with a fork or hands to work it into the eggplant (don't just add it and stir; it will separate). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chilled or at room temperature, with pita wedges, slices of crusty bread, and/or fresh vegetables, garnished with black olives and a sprig of parsley.

Melitzanosalata goes well with salty cheeses and fish mezethes like anchovies.

Yield: about 4 cups

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