Patlican Esme (Aubergine Salad)

This is one of my favourites and a really popular meze dish.  It’s easy to make and apart from making a great starter if served with warm bread it also makes a nice alternative to traditional salads with BBQ/grilled meats or fish.

Any traditional Turkish cook book will tell you to cook your aubergines over a naked flame or nbarbeque them which is great if you live somewhere that is warm enough or dry enough for outside cooking.

I use a regular grill or my trusty George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine.   Take 6 medium sized aubergines – give them a wash and a squeeze……they should give slightly when you squeeze them but not be mushy.   Put them under your grill or in the George Foreman – cook them evenly on both sides until the skin is black and they feel mushy.

Using a sharp knife – chop off the stalk as close to the end as possibile.  Cut the aubergine length ways so you are opening it like a book.  gently scoop out the inside with a teaspoon – be careful not to get any burnt skin in….a little bit won’t do any harm but too much will ruin the flavour.  Place the flesh in a mixing bowl.   Repeat until you have skinned all of your aubergines.

Add a spinkle of salt, a good slosh of olive oil and mix – leave to stand whilst you chop the garlic.

Peel and finely chop 3 or 4 large cloves of garlic – add to the warm mixture – stir well – use a knife to give it a bit of a chop if you feel that the aubergine mix is not smooth enough.  Leave the warm mixture to cool naturally – you may want to avoid the fridge because it will make it smell of garlic.

Serve as a side dish, a starter or a dip.  I love mine with warm fresh bread or with rice and meat as a change to sald.

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