Eggplant appears in so many dishes in Turkey that it should be named the country’s national vegetable! And why not – it’s a wonderfully versatile and delicious ingredient, especially when it’s exposed to a bit of intense heat. One of Turkey’s most ubiquitous dishes, patliçan salatası (Turkish eggplant salad) often automatically arrives along with bread as soon as you sit down in any lokanta (casual restaurant) in Turkey. Somer Sivrioglu’s version at Maydanoz in Sydney is the most delicious I’ve ever tasted, and my recipe is inspired by his. Using a combination of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and pomegranate molasses gives the perfect refreshing tang to get your tastebuds ready for whatever’s to come next. Char eggplant and capsicum directly over an open flame or on a hot grill plate if you prefer. This is first and foremost a Turkish eggplant salad, so if your capsicum is large, roast it whole but only put half in the salad; using the rest for another dish like muhammara (see video below). At the risk of causing an Aegean dispute, I enjoy a glass of Greek agiorgitiko with this Turkish dip, especially the Red on Black from Mitravelas.
Serves 4 as a side dish
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