How to Fire-Roast Eggplants the Turkish Way

High Angle View Of Eggplants Being Cooked On Barbecue
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  • 01 of 08

    Fire-Roasted Eggplant Is a Turkish Culinary Tradition

    It's customary to serve each cup of coffee along with a small glass of water. Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu

    Many Turkish dishes require fire-roasted eggplant, or "közlenmiş patlıcan" ( Jose-lens-MISH' pot-lu-JAN'). Cooked this way, the fire gives the flesh a wonderful, smoky flavor.

    Follow these steps to get perfect roasted eggplant to use in salads, marshes, and purees.  ​Use plump, medium-sized eggplants to achieve the best result.

    If you're having a barbecue, it's a good time to roast your eggplants on the grill. These photos show a barbecue on a tour boat in the Aegean Sea...MORE near Bodrum, Turkey, but any backyard grill will do just fine.

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  • 02 of 08

    Place the Eggplants Directly in the Hot Coals

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    The key to great, smoky taste is a good wood fire. Let the fire burn down until you have a nice bed of embers and no flames.

    When the fire is ready, move some of the hot coals to the side, making a space large enough to fit all the eggplants. Place the eggplants side by side directly on the bottom of the grill.

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  • 03 of 08

    Cover the Eggplants Completely With the Embers

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    Once you've arranged the eggplants on the bottom of the grill, push the hot coals back over the top and bury them completely.

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  • 04 of 08

    Let the Eggplants Roast Under the Embers

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    Sit back and relax while your eggplants roast over the coals. This should take 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size and amount of your eggplants.

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  • 05 of 08

    Finished Eggplants

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    Remove the eggplants gently from under the embers. The skins should be completely blackened and charred. Once you remove the skin, you'll see the flesh inside will be cooked to perfection.

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  • 06 of 08

    Cut Each Eggplant Down the Middle

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    Once your roasted eggplants are cool enough to handle, place one on a cutting board and slice it from end to end and open it up with your hands.

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  • 07 of 08

    Remove the Flesh Using a Spoon

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    Gently run a spoon from top to bottom on half of the eggplant to remove the flesh. Make sure to press just hard enough to remove the flesh leaving the skin underneath behind.

    Repeat this on both sides of the eggplant until all the cooked flesh is removed. Discard the charred skin. Repeat the same with each eggplant.

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  • 08 of 08

    Use the Roasted Eggplant in Your Favorite Recipe

    Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

    If you plan to use the roasted eggplant right away, remove any large seeds and pieces of burned skin. You can eat the roasted eggplant with a drizzle of olive oil and some crushed garlic as shown above, or use it right away as directed in your favorite recipe.

    If you plan to use your roasted eggplant later, put the flesh in a glass jar and add one tablespoon fresh lemon juice and enough water to cover the mixture. Cover the jar and gently turn it around to make sure the lemon juice works its way...MORE through all of the flesh.

    The lemon juice will keep the eggplant from darkening. When you are ready to use it, press the eggplant through a wire strainer to remove the liquid.