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
four as a first course, or eight to 10 as a cocktail spread.
medium onion, diced
clove garlic, crushed
large or 2 small stalks of celery, 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.