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Patlican Salatasi - Aubergine\Eggplant Dip

Introduction

You don't come across this simple dish much outside of Turkey. It is lighter than Baba Ghanoush, it doesn't use tahini paste, and is more refreshing on the palette.

The Italian, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese aubergine\eggplant varieties, which are shiny and slender work best for this dish; bigger varieties tend to be too bitter.

Male eggplants contain fewer seeds, which also makes them less bitter. For information on how to sex an eggplant, no really, check out The Cook's Thesaurus.

Tips

To obtain the best flavour, the eggplants should be cooked on a fire. I normally prepare this when having a barbecue.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 2 Aubergines\Eggplants
  • 1 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 120ml\4fl oz\½ cup plain yoghurt
  • Couple of sprigs of fresh dill
  • Salt

Tools of the Trade

  • Food processor used on a low speed, as the dish is traditionally made by hand using just a fork

Method

Cook the aubergines\eggplants over a fire, or in an oven preheated to 200°C\400°F\gas mark 6 (reduce temperature by 10% if using a fan oven), turning occasionally. They are ready when the skin blisters, turns brittle and starts to split. The flesh will also have collapsed. This can take 20-30 minutes depending on the heat of the fire.

Remove from the heat and place on a chopping board. Handling carefully as they will still be very hot, carefully peel, to remove all of the skin and any charred flesh. Using a fork remove any seeds, there can be a lot of them, then leave to cool for five minutes.

If using a food processor, place the aubergine\eggplant flesh into the bowl with the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of salt. Process on a low speed. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the yoghurt and a sprig of dill, and continue to process for 20-30 seconds. Taste. If the mixture tastes too sharp add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add more salt as necessary.

Serve decorated with a little dill.

Suggestion

You can also garnish with chopped black olives.