You may recognize this Mediterranean classic as eggplant caviar. Some recipes combine the puréed eggplant with part yogurt and part olive oil for a creamier result, and a few add a bit of tahini. A baroque version calls for the addition of chopped roasted peppers, walnuts, yogurt, and farmer or feta cheese (see variation). But this recipe is the simplest and most widely served Sephardic eggplant salad. Once the eggplants are roasted, discard any large seed pockets. This will reduce your yield, but the seeds are bitter and add an unpleasant texture to the smooth salad. To keep the eggplant white, a point of pride in Turkey, soak the hot cooked pulp in acidulated water until it cools. In La table juive, Martine Chiche-Yana recommends serving this dish as part of the Sukkot table.
For a smoky taste, preheat the broiler and broil the eggplants, turning often, until they are very soft and have collapsed, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, cook them slowly on a stove-top cast-iron griddle, turning them often. You also can
Mash with a fork, then mix in the olive oil, reserved lemon juice, salt, pepper, and the cumin and garlic, if using. Cover and chill well.
To serve, garnish with the parsley and with the cucumber or tomato slices and/or feta cheese, if you like. Set out pita with the salad
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