Persian Eggplant Appetizer
a little olive oil for the baking tray
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 medium yellow bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
a drizzle of olive oil
wedges of lime
Line a baking tray with foil and brush it lightly with olive oil.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Put them facedown on the tray, and place the pepper next to them. Roast the eggplants and pepper together for about 45 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft and the pepper's skin has puckered and pulled away from the flesh. (You can turn the pepper several times during the roasting process to help the skin blister more evenly.) Remove from the oven, and cool until all the vegetables are comfortable to handle.
Scoop the eggplant pulp from its skin, and transfer it to a medium sized bowl. Add the garlic, parsley, turmeric, salt, and lime juice, and mash everything together until fairly smooth.
Peel, seed, and mince the bell pepper and stir it in. Cover the bowl tightly and chill. Serve cold, topped with a sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds, a drizzle of olive oil, and wedges of lime tucked into the side. (See the notes for a more elaborate serving plan.)
Notes : A perfect light lunch or appetizer with just a piece of crackerbread or toasted pita, this tasty eggplant salad can also be expanded into a major presentation, garnished lavishly in the Persian style. Here's how: Place the eggplant in the middle of a large platter lined with salad greens. Decorate the platter with sprigs of fresh herbs (mint, chives, basil, scallions, oregano, and/or dill), a few mounds of yogurt, a scattering of radishes and cucumbers, and little clusters of kidney beans, almonds, and raisins. And, in the unlikely event that you happen to have some exquisite dried rose petals lying around, sprinkle them over the top, for a romantic touch.
Tried this dish in a Montreal Iranian restaurant and was fantastic, now I'm trying to make it.
Anonymous, Ottawa, canada
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