Israel doesn’t have a national vegetable. If it did, I am positive it would be the eggplant. It’s such a versatile vegetable, and is prepared in so many different ways, depending on the ethnicity of the cook. In my case, my ethnicity meant that my first proper encounter with eggplant (known in my native South Africa as a bringal), was when I made aliyah. I had to first learn how to enjoy the taste. Once I had achieved that goal, I then moved on to figuring out how to prepare this jolly purple veg. Now it’s a favorite go-to veg on a regular basis.
One of my favorite ways to handle eggplant is to slice it down the middle and roast it in the oven. Then there is so much you can do with the soft, smoky flesh. I’ve already posted a recipe for the classic Baba Ganoush, which is the queen of eggplant salads. Last week, I was about to make it, but I had already prepared my Roasted Pumpkin and Tehina Salad, and I wanted a different taste. So I took a whole head of garlic, roasted it and mixed it with the roasted eggplant. It’s so simple. The rich and distinct taste of the roasted garlic makes this salad taste so good that you will just want to eat it with a spoon. But pita or challah work well too.
EGGPLANT AND ROASTED GARLIC SALAD
1 medium sized eggplant
A little olive oil
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use low fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
How to do it
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F)
2. Slice the eggplant lengthways in two. Rub a little olive oil over the flesh side of each half and sprinkle with a little salt. Place on a baking tray, flesh side up. Place a whole head of garlic on the tray as well. Roast for about 25 minutes and remove the garlic. Continue to roast the eggplant until a fork slides into the narrow part of the eggplant very smoothly (about another 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the eggplant). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
3. Peel the eggplant or scoop the soft flesh out with a large spoon. Chop the eggplant with a large knife and place in a medium sized bowl.
4. Squeeze each garlic clove out of the peel into the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve with fresh pita or good fresh bread.
Serves about 6-8.