Simple and satisfying Melitzaosalata
Is there anything an eggplant can’t do? I’m in love with the vegetable simply grilled with a little olive oil and salt, stuffed with tomatoes and onions, or finessed with red sauce and cheese in eggplant parmesan, but my absolute favorite way to eat it is in this simple Greek dip: Melitzanosalata.
I always have a container of it in my refrigerator, especially during summer when eggplant is at its peak. I also love putting it on the menu for my Los Angeles personal chef clients and for my pop-up dinners in LA. It’s the perfect addition for any mezze platter and also pairs well with fish and poultry. It’s also vegan.
The trick to the best Melitzaosalata is to coax out the eggplant’s smoky flavors, either by charring it on the grill, over a gas flame on your stovetop (that can be messy, but it’s worth it), or in the oven. Then you’ll want to let it cool completely. After it cools, drain it either in a colander or a cheese cloth. This will help remove any residual bitterness that eggplants can have. It also keeps your dip from being too watery.
Variations of Melitzaosalata
This recipe is a rustic version of Melitzaosalata. You can make it into more of a combined dip by pureeing everything in your blender or food processor. In northern Greece they add local cheese and walnuts to the recipe. And in the middle east they incorporate tahini into it to make Baba Ganoush. I would say all are equally delicious and super fun to experiment with.
What’s your favorite version of Melitzanosalata? Let me know in the comments.