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Charred Eggplant Salad

Food

20th August, 2013
Gemma Lush
Tuesday 20th August 2013
Gemma Lush is back today with one of my personal favourite Middle Eastern flavours - charred eggplant.  There are very few ingredients that taste even BETTER when burnt to blackened crisp!  Gemma's own version of this classic Middle Eastern dish combines that classic smokey eggplant flavour, freshened up with a salsa of ripe tomato, red onion and parsley.  A vibrant, flavourful addition to any main course - and healthy too! - Lucy

Charred Eggplant Salad.  Recipe and food styling - Gemma Lush, photo - Phu Tang.  Background tiles by Jatana Interiors.  Ceramic bowls - Mud Australia.

I fell in love with eggplant on my travels to Turkey.  I had the most delicious smoked eggplant dip on the pristine South coast, in a fishing town called Fetiye.  It was so heavenly my friend and I went back to the same restaurant again and again. We couldn’t get enough!  Notes were taken of all of the flavours, and I have done my very best to create a similar version of the dish, in more of a salad-y style.

For this recipe you need to smoke the eggplants. I do this directly on the flame of my gas cooktop, however if you don’t have gas, I would recommend barbequing them instead. This step in the recipe is where all the magic happens. The outside turns to a crisp, whilst the inside becomes a silky soft, smokey delight. The flavour that results from this simple step is quite incredible!

INGREDIENTS

Charred Eggplant Salad ingredients.  Recipe and food styling - Gemma Lush, photo - Phu Tang.  Background tiles by Jatana Interiors.  Ceramic bowls - Mud Australia.

2 large eggplants
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ small red onion, finely diced
2 shallots, finely sliced
½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin, ground
½ tsp hot paprika
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Good pinch of salt

Method

Using a fork, prick the eggplants all over the skin. This will ensure that the skin doesn’t burst while you cook them. Place eggplant directly onto gas flame or BBQ grill, let char on each side of the eggplant, turning every couple of minutes with metal tongs. This will take around 15-20 minutes. The eggplant should turn limp, be totally blackened on the outside, and very soft on the inside.

Charred Eggplant.  Recipe and food styling - Gemma Lush, photo - Phu Tang.  Background tiles by Jatana Interiors.  Ceramic bowls - Mud Australia.

Take eggplants carefully off the heat – they will be very hot!  Let them cool down before peeling. Use the back edge of a knife and run down the length of the eggplant. The skin should slide straight off.

Place eggplants onto a chopping board, sprinkle over the cumin and paprika and chop eggplant up with the spices until it turns to a pulp. Spread eggplant over your serving platter. Layer with remaining ingredients and finish with vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!

For more of Gemma's beautiful styling work, do check out her folio website – and like every self respecting foodie, she has her own recipe blog too!  

Charred Eggplant Salad reading to serve!  Recipe and food styling - Gemma Lush, photo - Phu Tang.  Background tiles by Jatana Interiors.  Ceramic bowls - Mud Australia.

The gorgeous Gemma Lush tucking in to her delicious eggplant salad!  Photo - Phu Tang.

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