"One of the first things I make myself when I go home to Nazareth,“ says Rawia Bishara in Olives, Lemons & Za‘atar, ”is the eggplant sandwich we often ate on Friday afternoons when I was growing up.“ This salad is inspired by that sandwich.
From Rawia Bishara‘s Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking, published by Kyle Books.
- 3 medium to large eggplants (3 to 4 pounds total), peel on, cut into large dice
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing eggplant
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 8 plum tomatoes, cut into small dice, or 3 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large dice (about 5 cups)
- 1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 medium red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3/4 cup Kalamata or green olives, pitted and chopped
- 3 shallots, 1 medium red onion or 6 scallions, white parts only, chopped
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup), or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Preheat the oven to 500F. Divide the eggplant pieces between two rimmed baking sheets and brush them all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and bake until the eggplants are lightly browned and softened, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, green and red peppers, parsley, olives, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, 6 tablespoons oil and crushed red pepper, if using. Mix well with a wooden spoon, then taste and adjust the lemon juice and salt.
Gently fold in the cooled eggplant, distributing it evenly and taking care not to crush it. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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