Simple mezze salad: Eggplant dip with thyme and parsley

It doesn’t get much easier than this. You roast an eggplant, mix it with mayo, and season with chopped herbs. Then you eat it.

This is pretty much a Middle Eastern babaganush with a Western twist. The mayonnaise makes it creamier than usual, and the thyme adds an unusual flavor twist.

The best way to roast an eggplant is straight on a gas burner (or on a charcoal grill). The cleanest way to roast an eggplant is wrapped in tinfoil in the oven.

Roasting an eggplant over an open flame gives it an excellent smoky flavor, but if you’re doing this inside, and not at, say, a barbecue, you need to cover the top of your stove with tinfoil, because the eggplant will ooze lots of juices as it cooks.

Roasting the eggplant in the oven will give it a more mild flavor, lacking any form of smokiness, but this method saves on preparation and cleanup, which makes it a lot easier.

This is how the stovetop roasting works:

1) Mild-mannered eggplant gets placed on the flame (top photo).

2) Fifteen minutes later, it starts to look like this:

3) But lo and behold, photographed in regular lighting, it doesn’t look all that great. This is why you covered the stove in tinfoil. The eggplant may not look so appealing at this stage, but trust me on this one:

4) Because once you peel off the burnt skin, you’re left with silky eggplant flesh infused with a wonderful smoky flavor:

For about 2 cups of eggplant salad:

1 medium-sized eggplant
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon thyme leaves (8-10 stalks)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt to taste

First, roast the eggplant: To roast it in the oven, wrap it in tinfoil and leave in the oven at the maximum setting (240 C on my oven) until soft (30 minutes to 1 hour). You’ll know the eggplant is done when it yields when poked at, or can be sliced effortlessly with a knife.

To roast the eggplant on a stovetop flame: Cover the top of your stove with tinfoil, around the burners, to catch drips. There will be lots of them, so fold up the corners of the tinfoil in order to create a raised tray. Put the eggplant straight on top of the metal frame over the burner, and turn up the flame to maximum heat. The eggplant skin may blacken and burn, but that’s OK. Flip once or twice so that the eggplant cooks evenly. It’ll be done in about 15 minutes.

Take your cooked eggplant, and slice it open. If you roasted it on a flame, carefully remove all blackened bits of skin (they’re not pleasant to find in the finished dish). Slice up the flesh, in order to break up the long strings of meat.

Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Mix with mayo, salt and chopped herbs. Ta-da!

Serving suggestion: Eat with toast, crackers or pita.

Leave a Reply