Served at room temperature, aubergine salad is a great make-ahead meze which goes well with both hot and cold main dishes.
Aubergine is a well loved berry and in Turkey and there are certainly a large and colourful variety to be found in the market. The really lazy way is to buy this in tins, which is quite good and fairly cheap at a few Turkish Lira a go, but it is easy and even cheaper to make so if you’re looking for what to do with aubergine, why not give it a go.
- 2 – 3 Aubergines (eggplant / “Patlican” in Turkish)
- Sliced Green Peppers – 1-2 bell peppers, or half a dozen long thin ones
- 3-4 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste (Salca)
- Sunflower Oil
- Vinegar (Sirke)
- Salt & pepper
How to Make Lazy Suzan Aubergine Salad
Cover the base of a smallish saucepan with a couple of millimetres of oil and heat, when it’s hot add the sliced green peppers and fry, stirring occasionally, until they are softened but not brown.
Add sliced or mashed garlic (as much as you like) to the oil and stir around until you can smell it – again, don’t brown.
Then stir in the tomato paste and stir around.
Add a teaspoon of sugar and a couple of dessert spoons of vinegar – taste it and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
After a minute or two more slacken the sauce with water and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes then turn off to cool.
In another deep frying pan (or similar) cover the base with half an inch of oil and heat. You can test the heat by dropping in a small piece of aubergine – when it starts actively frying you’re ready.
As aubergine goes brown very quickly after slicing, cut only enough slices to fry in the batch and then carefully add to the oil so they have a little space to move about.
Fry until golden brown – in batches – draining on kitchen paper.
When the sauce and the aubergines are all cooked and cooled combine gently into a bowl or Tupperware box.
Keep in the fridge until needed, but try and bring it up to room temperature before serving. Of course if you prefer it hot you can heat it through.
I don’t find the aubergine here bitter enough to warrant salting, but if you do, salt the slices for half an hour before frying, rinse and pat dry – this will also mean they absorb less oil.
Salca – tomato paste, storage tip.
If you have opened a big tin of this and have a load left over, pour it into a freezer bag, flatten out as thinly as possible and freeze. Next time you need some paste just snap off a bit from the freezer.