I LOVE eggplants! I know…. you might think I’m crazy, but I promise you I’m not. If you ever had poorly prepared eggplant, you might be hesitant o try anything else that uses it, let alone a dish basically made mainly from it. But this Romanian roasted eggplant spread, also known in my country as eggplant salad will change your mind about eggplants for good ;).
I grew up eating this “salad” at least once a week during the summer months. Now, I don’t have to wait for summer, because every fall I buy anywhere from 100 to 200 eggplants from our local produce auction. I roast them all in one day (or two, if I go crazy buying too many) and freeze in small portions, ready to fix at a moment’s notice.
That’s exactly what I did today: took out one of my frozen roasted eggplant bags and made the most delicious roasted eggplant spread. It’s soft, creamy, and goes perfectly with my homemade oatmeal bread. YUM!
Here’s my frozen eggplant, on top of paper towels to catch the juices as it thaws (I defrosted it ;).
The recipe takes some time if you start from scratch, but soo worth it! You’ll need to roast the eggplant first, which will take about 30 minutes or so. But while the eggplants are roasting, you can chop the onions and you’ll be ready to eat in less than an hour.
If you decide to roast your eggplants like I do, in the fall, you can have the eggplant salad on the table in about 25 minutes.
Secrets To The Best Roasted Eggplant Spread
While it’s not rocket science to make this delicious roasted eggplant dip, there are a few secrets that will make or break this recipe.
- after roasting the eggplants you need to let the juices drain. These juices are what makes the eggplant bitter and why many people don’t like eggplants.
- keep eggplants away form metal: it darkens them, making them look unappealing
- don’t put eggplants in the blender: the seeds are bitter
- chop the onion as small as you can, then add the salt to it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Go over the chopped onions with the knife until your onion pieces are tiny (see my pictures below). This way, you’ll have the flavor of onions, but not the crunchy texture many don’t like 😉
- when you ad the oil, do so slowly and mix in the same direction with a wooden spoon. Changing directions will ruin the creaminess of the spread.
Once your eggplants are properly drained, you need to roughly chop them up. Here’s how they look once I chopped them up with a plastic knife.
Now you’re ready to mix everything.
And you bet I didn’t wait for dinner to eat my first piece. It just so happened I had fresh homemade bread, and couldn’t resist. Now that I tasted it, I’m ready to share 😉
Roasted Eggplant Spread Recipe
This roasted eggplant spread is the perfect comfort food, sporting a delicious smoky flavor. It’s best on a crusty bread, but works with pita, chips and crackers too.
- 3 medium eggplants roasted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise use vegenaise for a vegan version
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Wash and dry eggplants
Roast eggplants on the grill (or, you can broil them), turning every 5 to 7 minutes, until fully roasted
Let roasted eggplants cool, then peel off the skin. If needed, scoop out with a spoon
Drain juice from eggplants (I use a cutting board, tilted with a bowl). This will remove the bitterness of the eggplants.
Roughly chop roasted eggplants with a plastic knife
Finely chop onions (add salt to soften them)
Add chopped onions, eggplant and mayonnaise to a plastic or glass bowl, and add the oil slowly, as you mix in one direction with a wooden spoon.
Ornate with tomatoes, and a sprig of parsley