Recipes Mezes: Patlican Salatasi (Eggplant Salad) Turkey

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Mezes : The Turkish pleasures of the table includes mezes… an eclectic family of dishes which are generally enjoyed at the beginning of a meal. They are always served with raki – the anise flavored apéritif.

Serves 6

1 pound eggplant
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled and pounded to a paste with 1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup thick yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Garnish:
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
8 black olives
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4" strips

1. Pierce the eggplant all over with a metal skewer and grilled whole, either under the broiler or over a charcoal grill. Cook for 30 minutes are until the skin blisters on all sides and the interior of the eggplant is soft. Set aside to cool.

2. Cut the eggplant in 2 lengthwise, scoop out the pulp and put it in a fine mesh sieve, set over a medium mixing bowl. Allow the pulp to drain for about 15 minutes remove excess liquid. Discard as many seeds as possible and transfer the pulp to a mixing bowl.

3. Mash the pulp with a fork and stir in the lemon juice and garlic.

4. Slowly incorporate the olive oil, continuously beating with a fork and then fold in the yogurt.

5. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, transfer the salad to a shallow serving bowl and garnish with the olives, parsley and strips of red pepper.