This is a wonderful, refreshing salad from southern Turkey, Antakya, and one of my favorites, featuring Turkey’s beloved eggplant “patlican”. Traditionally, the eggplant here is cooked over an open fire. This dish can be served as part of a “mezze” – appetizer- or can accompany grilled meats.
When I made the pastry with smoked eggplants the other day, I grilled two extra eggplants to make these salads. It is packed with flavor; a very welcome mezze for warm summer days. The dried mint really adds a wonderful flavor to the salads, most refreshing. —Ozlems Turkish Table
Cook the eggplants (aubergines) on a barbecue grill or over and open gas flame turning occasionally by the stalks until the outer skin is charred and blistered and the inner flesh soft. (Alternatively they can be baked in a hot oven for about 45 minutes). Peel away the burnt skin and discard the stalks. Put the flesh in a colander to drain away any bitter juices. (You can prepare the eggplants this way a day in advance; squeeze lemon juice over to retain its color and keep in the fridge covered). Finely chop the flesh and set aside.
Hold the eggplant under cold running water to cool, and then peel the skin, leaving the soft flesh. Slice it roughly into a serving dish and add the tomatoes and bell pepper.
In a separate dish, rub the onion with a good pinch of salt and drain its juice. This softens the onion slightly, making it much more palatable. Add the onion to the salad along with the parsley.
To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dried mint, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the salad, mix well and serve.