Complete List of Recipes & Reflections

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grilled Eggplant Salad (Σαλάτα Ψητή Μελιτζάνα)


An excellent seasonal eggplant salad - Click to Enlarge Image

This posting is all about appreciation. Appreciation for the people who visit this Greek food blog and take the time to comment when they see something they like; appreciation for those who share this blog with their friends, and those who share its contents with the world by Digging, Stumbling, or otherwise adding it to their social networks; appreciation for the many friendships I have made with other bloggers who post about their lives and passions, whether these be Greek food related or not. It continues to be my great pleasure to share my thoughts and Greek recipe selections and reflections with all of you. I am deeply moved and inspired by the encouragement and support you have shown to a perfect stranger who rambles on about Greek cooking and history and the like. Truly, your example typifies the concept of xenia (Greek notion of a guest-host relationship) and I graciously thank each and every one of you for the thoughtfulness behind your visits. We all lead busy enough lives and the fact that you took a moment to stop by and show this blog a little bit of love means the world to me, and I just thought you ought to know. Thank you.

So, enough of the mushy stuff and let me get straight into a great seasonal salad with a short introduction. One of my all-time favourite Greek restaurants in Toronto is called Pappas Grill. Like most Greek restaurants it is a family-run affair and has been a fixture in Toronto’s Greek Town for over twenty years. The food is, in a word, excellent. Their menu is quite varied and there is something on it for every palate. The wine selection is also very good and is carefully chosen to accompany the foods on the menu. The wood-burning oven and the dishes that come out of it, along with a great summertime patio are also reasons I like this place. One of my favourite appetizers at Pappas is the Grilled Eggplant dish. This seasonal eggplant salad recipe is adapted from the one on their menu, and I have been making and enjoying it for well nigh on a decade now. My wife, who ordinarily does not like eggplant all that much, is crazy about this dish.

I used eggplant, tomato, and parsley fresh out of our kitchen garden for this Greek vegetarian recipe. When I cut the eggplant, it was “dripping its honey” as they say in Greece. The tomatoes were moments from the vine, and the parsley was simply redolent with the freshness of its immediacy to hand. I cannot adequately express in words the total satisfaction of cooking and eating fresh produce from one’s own garden; it is a true delight and one of life’s most indulgent pleasures. Selah.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
3 tomatoes
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or very finely diced
1 tbsp. (15 ml.) dried Greek oregano
Greek extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice the eggplant into discs along its length - not too thin and not too thick.
  2. Fill a large mixing bowl or pot with salted water, place the eggplant discs into the salt bath and set a plate overtop of them to weigh them down into the bowl. Leave to soak well, say 20 – 30 minutes. Mix them up periodically to ensure the salty water soaks them completely. We do this to remove the bitterness from the flesh of the eggplant.
  3. Chop tomatoes into small cubes or pieces and place in a bowl.
  4. Add chopped parsley, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to the chopped tomatoes and mix well then set aside.
  5. Light you grill and aim for a temperature of 400 or so. When the grilling surface is ready, spray or run a wipe of some vegetable oil over it to act as lubricant.
  6. Using your hands and working quickly over the grill, brush (or spray) the downward facing side of each slice of eggplant with a little olive oil before placing it in order across the grill, starting from the top left rear section and filling the entire surface in rows. Once all the eggplant discs are on the grill, give each of their upward facing sides a brushing (or spraying) with some olive oil. Grill until they have visibly softened around the edges, watch them carefully but give them a few minutes to cook through and absorb the olive oil, then give them another brushing of olive oil and turn them over. Grill for another few minutes and then give them a final brushing of olive oil; leave them on the grill for another minute or so and remove onto a platter or dish. They should be quite soft yet not burned, visible grill marks are also desirable but not at the expense of burning them through, so watch them carefully while they are over the heat.
  7. Arrange several eggplant discs on a serving plate, spoon some of the chopped tomato mixture overtop, sprinkle with some oregano, and serve with some crusty bread.


I prefer this dish at room temperature, so I refrigerate the tomato mix and the eggplants and serve it the following day after leaving them out on the counter for an hour or so, but it can be eaten warm as well. Note: If I am going to refrigerate it, I do not add salt to the tomato mix; I add the salt when serving as this prevents the tomatoes from seeping too much of their juice.


Kali Orexi! (Bon Appetit)

Sam Sotiropoulos
Greek Gourmand
http://www.greekgourmand.com
Greek Food Recipes and Reflections
Copyright © 2008, Sam Sotiropoulos. All Rights Reserved.


P.S. For those of you still wondering what the term Selah means, you can sorta find out here. ;-)

22 comments:

Peter G said...

Sam all your hard work is definitely appreciated. Your history lessons regarding certain dishes are always a welcome addition. Plus we learn something! How I envy you being able to have all these ingredients readiy available in your garden. It's the pure simplicity that wins here in this grilled eggplant dish...and like you I would also prefer this the next day.

Lucia said...

I love Pappas Grill! And I'm so appreciative of your blog for Greek food and culture. Yummy!

Thank you.

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

Oh Sam this looks wonderful, so summery and light. I love reading about the culture, history and food here, it's a delight.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That is my kind of food Sam! I love grilled eggplant salads. I really love anything involving eggplant actually! Pairing it with tomatoes and herbs from your own garden must have made it awesome!

I am telling you, I know how you feel with regard to all the mushy stuff. I am overwhelmed daily by the kindness and encouragement in the food blogging community!


(PS - the design on the plate - I see that everywhere in relation to all things Greek - does it have a special meaning symbolically?)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ivy said...

Sam, we are definitely on the same wave line. Last week I grilled some eggplants (completely different way though) and hope to post them next week. I love your combination of ingredients.

jim said...

Sam,

I love eggplant, or aubergine in the UK.

My wife does too and we only found the secret of putting the slices into salty water after years of making "alright" aubergine bake when we visited a friend who knew the right way to cook aubergine.

So thanks for this recipe, it looks yummy!

Ivy said...

Hi Sam, I just wanted to say Thank you again for all your help and as you already have the Brillante Award, I am sending you a Magic Lamp of Luck Award, and wish you Good Luck for your new site.

deb said...

I adore eggplant. I need to just make this very very soon.

Laurie Constantino said...

Grilled eggplant and tomato - a classic combination and always appreciated by the eaters. Nice picture too.

Lisa said...

This looks like a great side dish or appetizer. I am liking all these Greek recipes.

PlantBuddy said...

Hi! I was looking for a good eggplant recipe and asked Deb. She sent me to your blog. So here I am. Looks delicious. Will try it out soon. I am growing my own eggplants out on my deck in big containers. Drop by when you have a momment.

K. Fields said...

Yum! This is the only way I have been able to eat Eggplant and like it. Awesome photos and directions. Thank-you!

kalliope said...

I am always on the hunt for eggplant recipes. This summer I have been simply brushing it with olive oil and placing on the grill. But I'm ready for something new! Thanks.

justfoodnow said...

I adore your site! You've been listed on mine for ages and I've had so much pleasure from it.

Thanks for this eggplant recipe - it's one of my favourite vegetables.

David Hall said...

I think you Greeks do the best things with aubergines sir - delicious!

Lore said...

Love aubergines and I always feel the need to eat them with tomatoes. Your salad looks gorgeous to me!

justfoodnow said...

I've got a complaint! What am I supposed to read when I've read everything here?

Got no books, need to read one of your articles ............ now what?

By the way - I love this the next day and @ room temperature.
Great great article ..... as always.

Sophie said...

We would like to feature your grilled eggplant salad on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if interested. Thanks :)

You can view our blog here:
blog.keyingredient.com/

jessica said...

Thank you so much for your recommendation. I can't wait to make this! When I do I'm going to photograph it and show you! Stay tuned and have a great weekend :)

Sarah said...

Pappas Grill sounds awesome, I used to know a family with the last name Pappas, wonder if they're part of the family running the restaurant!

berlin catering fingerfood said...

Sounds perfect to me. I love grilled eggplant. The salad variation looks nice too. Thanks for the picture. Now I know what I will eat this evening.