Though you'll have to do a little deep frying to make this Israeli Eggplant and Red Pepper Salad, the rest of the preparation so simple, you may not mind the extra minutes spent over the stove. Offer the dish as an appetizer, salad, or side dish -- no matter when you serve it, says Giora Shimoni, "everyone will leave your table raving about the tasty eggplant dish."
If you're entertaining, this is also an excellent addition to Mediterranean cuisine-inspired party menus. Serve it on a casual buffet alongside Israeli Hummus, Baked Chickpea Fritters, Matboucha, grilled fish, stuffed grape leaves, Turmeric Rice with Golden Raisins, and Spanakopita. Offer baklava and fruit for dessert.
Variation: Some people dust the eggplant slices lightly with flour before frying.
Miri's Recipe Testing Notes and Tips:
When it's time to discard most of the hot oil in step 3, below, take care to avoid burns! Rather than pouring off the oil from the pan, try wadding up a couple of paper towels, grabbing them with tongs, and carefully sopping up the extra oil with the towels.
Edited by Miri Rotkovitz
- 3 medium eggplants (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds total, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices)
- 2 inches canola oil (for deep frying)
- 2 bell peppers (red, cored, and sliced into strips)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (white wine)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled, smashed, and finely chopped)
- Sea salt to taste (or Kosher)
- Optional: parsley (chopped)
1. Place the eggplant slices in a colander set over a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the salt off of the eggplant slices, drain, and pat dry well with papers towels. (Try to get the slices as dry as possible -- any water droplets can make the hot oil splatter when the eggplant hits the pan).
2. In a wok, a large, deep chefs pan, or a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot (375° on a frying thermometer), deep fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden, taking care not to crowd the pan. Fry each batch until the eggplant is golden and tender, about 5 minutes, then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. Transfer the eggplant to paper towel-lined plates or baking sheets to cool.
3. Remove most of the oil from the pot, and add the red pepper slices. Saute until just softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the eggplant. Toss to combine.
5. In a small bowl, mix the ketchup, vinegar and garlic. Pour the mixture over the eggplant and red pepper salad, and gently stir to coat. Season with salt to taste.
6. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving. Transfer the salad to a shallow dish. Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.