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Culinary Uses for Eggplant
Eggplant is an excellent base for salads, mezze dishes, or a substantial side dish, thanks to its meaty texture and incredible ability to absorb and carry flavors. It pairs well with almost anything: loads of fresh herbs, grilled or roasted meats (especially lamb, which is fragrant and fatty), and dairy (yogurt or salty feta cheese). It’s also the star ingredient as rough-cut cubes in the rustic French ratatouille, along with tomato, garlic, onion, and other aromatics. Once you know how to cook it, it’s an easy and impressive showpiece for a vegetable-laden table.
- In this recipe, Ottolenghi uses a mixture of dill, fresh flat-leaf parsley, and basil, though you can feel free to substitute other soft green herbs such as cilantro or fresh mint.
- He adds a bit of Quick Lemon Paste and Quick-Pickled Chilies for complexity and kick; you can sprinkle whatever spices you have on hand, to adjust taste.
- Don’t worry about perfection when it comes to plating and garnishes; this side dish is meant to feel casual yet intimate.
Ottolenghi’s Roasted Eggplant Salad Recipe
- 13⁄4 tbsp Quick Lemon Paste
- 2 tbsp Quick-Pickled Chilies
- 20 g pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 lbs large Italian eggplants (about 3 eggplants), trimmed and cut into 1-inch- thick rounds
- 10 tbsp olive oil, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 g dill, roughly chopped
- 5 g parsley, roughly chopped
- 10 g basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 11⁄2 tsp maple syrup
- In a large bowl, toss the eggplants with 4 tablespoons of oil, 3⁄4 teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper. Spread the eggplants out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking tray and roast, turning over halfway, until deeply golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dill, parsley, basil, Quick Lemon Paste (made of fresh lemon juice and salt), maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil. Add the cooled eggplant and toss until well coated.
- Arrange the eggplant on a plate and top with the Quick-Pickled Chilies and chopped pistachios.
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