it can be served two ways, either plain or with a small amount of mayonnaise making it creamier and richer. most people prefer one or the other. it wasn't until recently that i liked the one with mayonnaise.
many different versions exist for this roasted eggplant dip and everyone, it seems, has his or her own particular way of making it to personalize and call it one's own. having tried many different mutations over the years, i still like this one as it is plain and simple and shows off its main ingredient — smoky roasted eggplant and not much else.
israeli roasted eggplant appetizer
(salat hatzileem — סלט חצילים)
i guess this could be considered baba gannoush's less robust sibling. made without the addition of tehina paste, this version is somewhat lighter but in no way inferior. always served at either room temperature or slightly cold, this appetizer is great for anytime.
1 roasted eggplant
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 c finely chopped onion*
1 tsp salt
sugar to taste, opt.
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp extra v olive oil
(some people use regular vegetable oil)
juice of 1/2 small lemon
2 tbsp mayonnaise, optional
1 - 2 tbsp chopped parsley, opt.
*measure your chopped onions and place them in a small bowl. add a heaped 1/3 tsp salt and mix well. let it sit for 1 hour. this step is optional but it helps to extract and break down any harshness the onion may have. after one hour, drain the onions and discard any juices. there may be little juices as it is a small amount here. if making a larger amount of onion, adjust the salt accordingly. also note that some people don't add onion at all, only garlic.
roast your eggplant (instructions here) and finely chop the pulp. set aside.
note that you can either finely chop the eggplant or do as some people do and purée it in a food processor or blender. some aficionados of this prefer a perfectly smooth texture.
mince the garlic and add it to the eggplant. add the drained onion and stir.
add the salt (sugar if using) and pepper along with the lemon juice and the olive oil. stir again.
at this point, this version is done. it needs to sit for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.
if you want version 2, then add the mayonnaise. the mayonnaise will change its colour to a nice beige.
chopped parsley can be added to either; i tend to make it without any.
serve with pita, crackers, challah or crudités.