When I moved here I had never tried an aubergine, nor did I want to… but after a few BBQ’s with our friends here in Fethiye, I realised this dish was an important and unavoidable part of the Turkish BBQ experience, so I gave in and tried some… I’m now in love with it and it’s actually one of my favourite foods!
It’s name is ‘Patlıcan Salatası ‘ (aubergine/eggplant salad). When cooked on the coals of the BBQ then prepared and made into a salad, aubergines have a unique smokey taste and this dish is perfect when served as a side salad along with grilled meat and crusty bread, yum!
2 medium red peppers
2 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
1 lemon (for the juice)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
(You can play around with the amount of each to suit your taste – this is just a rough guide of what we use, but it really depends how much we have left in our fridge!)
Once the BBQ is lit and ready to grill on, put the aubergines and peppers directly into the hot coals. Turn them occasionally with a pair of tongs so that they cook evenly. They need to remain in there for around 15 minutes until they are soft and the skins are blackened. This is important, as this is what gives them the real smoky barbequed taste. Once they get to this point and look similar to mine below, take them out and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
While they are cooling down, you can prepare the other ingredients…
You can either cook the onions and tomatoes by putting them into the coals for 10-15 minutes until they become soft, or if you’d prefer, leave them raw and slice up into the salad as they are. It’s down to personal preference and it’s delicious both ways.
Peel the cloves of garlic and chop into small thin pieces.
Once the aubergine and peppers have cooled down a little (and the onion and tomatoes if you chose to cook them too..) you need to peel the skins off (or just the outside few layers of the onion). If they have been sat in the coals long enough, the skins should peel off really easily. It’s a messy job and be careful not to burn yourself as they will still be very hot inside. (Yes, I’ve learnt the hard way on more than one occasion- oops!)
Cut off the top/stalk end of the aubergines and peppers (some people like to remove the seeds too but we always leave them in) then chop up everything into smaller pieces – the aubergines, peppers, onions and tomatoes – and add them all into the same bowl.
Add the garlic into the bowl along with the olive oil and salt. All the Turkish people I know are obsessed with oil and salt so they add a lot of both, but you can adapt it to your own taste.
Finally, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the salad – mix it all together and that’s it!
It doesn’t look very appealing, and I think that’s why I was so resistant to try it, but it really does taste delicious, especially when cooled down and served with barbequed meat and crusty bread. The bread is perfect for dipping into the juice at the bottom of the bowl – yum!
Let me know if you’ve ever had this dish, is it always part of your Turkish BBQ’s? Will you be trying this recipe out for yourself?