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Author Notes: My mother made this moist, finely chopped tangy eggplant salad on a regular basis, and served it as an appetizer or as a cocktail snack spread on rye bread. It looks a little bit like real chopped herring, but doesn't taste anything like it. Eggplant prepared in this manner was a reminder for her of The Great Depression, when money was tight, and chicken livers were considered a luxury, not every day food. She used to make it in a wooden salad bowl with a double-bladed "hockmesser" chopping tool-- even after she bought a food processor--because it should have texture, not be too finely pureed. —zora
Serves four as a first course, or eight to 10 as a cocktail spread.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, peeled and diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 slice of challah or white bread, crust removed
- 3 tablespoons white or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, add more to taste
- a few grinds of black pepper
- 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and diced
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees f. Line a baking tray or dish with aluminum foil and pierce the eggplant with a fork in several places to prevent it from exploding in the oven. Roast eggplant for 30 to 45 minutes, or until it is very soft--time will depend on the size of the eggplant. Allow eggplant to cool.
- Saute chopped onion and garlic in vegetable oil with a sprinkle of salt until translucent. Do not allow the onion to brown. Set aside to cool.
- Soak bread in vinegar until saturated, then squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Once eggplant has cooled, strip away and discard the skin, and spoon the pulp and seeds into a fine strainer to drain.
- Using a mezzaluna or curve-bladed knife, chop all of the ingredients together in a wooden bowl, until they are an even consistency. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse a few times until ingredients are blended into a shaggy mass. It should not be a smooth puree.
- Taste and add salt, if needed. If you feel it needs more acid, soak another piece of bread with vinegar, squeeze the bread and chop it in--don't pour vinegar directly into the puree.
- Serve as an appetizer salad, or as a spread on savory crackers or small pieces of rye bread.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Jewish-Inspired Recipe