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Greek Aubergine Salad. Melizanosalata. ©

August 11, 2012

This is a recipe I am most passionate about and it has taken me several tries to get it absolutely perfect.
Once upon a time I knew a dear Lady who made it beautifully and as a child I used to watch her with fascination as she meticulously prepared it, using the traditional Greek wooden pestle and mortar, called a ‘Goudi.’
When one day, much later on I tried to make it, I consulted one or two people , who said,” Oh it is nothing, it is easy!” Always be extra careful when people say that !
Just the smell of the baking aubergines, as they smolder on the coals….. The taste must be smoky, the consistency smooth and full, standing on it’s own like mayonnaise and the flavor of the cold press olive oil, just coming through. The lemon and vinegar must just balance the taste of the aubergines, and the salt brings to the fore the subtle combination of ingredients.
So many  people add  fresh tomato, parsley and mayonnaise or yogurt to whiten it……. not the real thing at all! This is a purely aubergine affaire, which is so subtle it needs great care to achieve.
One of the secrets is grilling the aubergines on charcoal, the second is working quickly while the aubergines are still hot, as they
discolor less easily and the third is, halting the discoloration by mixing in the lemon, vinegar, onion and salt as quickly
as possible. Many are tempted to add a spoonful of yogurt to whiten the salad, but this does not give the same final result and of course adding the oil slowly, as for when making mayonnaise, is essential.
This is when I remember this dear Lady’s procedure so vividly, slowly slowly adding the virgin olive oil and always made in a ‘Xilino Goudi,’ ( wooden pestle and mortar, ) which also absorbs some of the moisture of the aubergine.
Like a good wine it matures in Oak!
A challenge for you all!
6 persons
Ingredients
4 large aubergine, or 6 smaller ones
1 medium onion finely grated
1 lemon juice
1 tbs vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup virgin cold press olive oil
Parsley to decorate and Kalamata black olives
Method
1. Prepare the charcoals and light the fire. This can be done as I have, in a Kazani, ( Old fashioned  Greek water heater, ) which few of you will have, or on the barbecue, but if all else fails in the oven, always piercing the aubergines first with a knife, so that they do not explode! and letting them char to get the smoked flavor.
2.Finely grate the medium onion, on the finest holes of  your grater and add to it the squeezed lemon juice, 1 tbs vinegar and 1 tsp salt.
3.Once the aubergines are baked, about half an hour, turning them on all sides,( could take longer,) depending on your coals and the size of your aubergines, they should look shriveled, but not over shrunken. Remove them from the heat and cut open with a sharp knife. Pull apart with two spoons and empty contents ‘Carefully ‘ into your old style French “Mouli,” which you have rested on top of your wooden mortar. IMPORTANT : Don’t start turning the handle, until you have added all the aubergine pulp and the liquid has drained through to the bottom of your mortar.
4. Empty each aubergine, taking care to remove any little pieces of  black charred skin and drizzle with a little of the onion and lemon mixture, to arrest the oxidation that occurs when the aubergine is cut open.
5. Before beginning to turn the ‘Mouli,’ pour off any liquid that has accumulated in the mortar and reserve for adding to your next roast lamb. If this is not done, the aubergine salad will be too liquid.
6. Go on turning the ‘Mouli” until only the seeds remain. This is the big advantage over the modern mixer, the seeds are held back.If you don’t have a Mouli, pass through a sieve.
7. Now add very slowly , as for when you make Mayonnaise, virgin olive oil, until you can taste the flavor of the olive oil in the aubergine salad. Mix thoroughly so the oil is fully incorporated, before adding more.
8. Taste carefully for salt and  lemon/vinegar, this is important, because any acidity in the aubergines, or bitterness, can now be neutralized, by  adding a little more of the above.
9. Turn out into a serving dish and decorate by pulling a pattern with the back of a spoon from the sides to the center. Your pattern should hold like thick mayonnaise!
Decorate with parsley and Kalamata olives.
10. Store in the refrigerator and serve with crispy warm bread, though I have to say, I love it just on its own and it is excellent served as a meze, starter, or with roast lamb.
This is the pure and unadulterated recipe for aubergine salad.
I have really enjoyed producing this recipe, so please forgive the numerous photographs!
Pick your aubergines from the kitchen garden, or buy at your local market.
Wash and pierce your aubergines with a sharp knife, before cooking them, so that they do not burst during
baking.
This is a Greek Kazani. Stoke it up with wood for the days hot water and when just the coals are left, roast
your aubergines.
The coals are ready……
Place your aubergines on the coals and after 20 minutes turn the aubergines onto the other side.
Once your aubergines are cooked, shrunken, but not too shrunken, place in roasting tin and leave
momentarily to cool.
Ready for making……
Gather together all your ingredients.
Grate your medium sized onion on a fine grater.
This is what your finely grated onion should look like.
Squeeze juice of lemon.
Add to onion, lemon juice and vinegar.
Add salt.
Using a sharp knife, cut an incision down the center of the aubergine. Open up with two stainless steel
spoons.
Open up the aubergine and remove carefully, the soft white pulp inside.
Just the empty shells remain.
Place pulp into ‘Mouli.’ take care to remove any burnt pieces of skin, as you can see in the picture,
because this will darken the end result.
Empty all the aubergine pulp into the ‘Mouli,’ and drizzle intermittently with the onion mixture.
Drizzle with the onion mixture.
Beautiful colors!
 This picture shows the liquid from the aubergine pulp, which has drained through as you have placed the
pulp into the Muli.
BEFORE starting to turn the handle of your Mouli, pour this liquid off into a glass and reserve to add to
your next roast lamb.
This is an IMPORTANT point, otherwise  your aubergine salad will be too runny.
You will lose some of the Onion liquid, but this does not matter.
Depending on the aubergines, the liquid can be as much as a glass full.
Turn ‘Mouli,’ until all the aubergine pulp is passed through.
Scrape away the last of aubergine, so as not to waist any of this delectable puree.
Only the seeds remain.
Add cold press olive oil, in a fine drizzle, as if for making Mayonnaise.
Incorporate well each drizzle of olive oil, before adding more.
Final result……just delicious! Let me know what you think, love getting your feed back.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2012 2:18 pm

    Wow your description has made my mouth water! Looks lovely x

    Like

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