Editor’s note: The recipe below is excerpted from Diane Kochilas’s book The Greek Vegetarian. Kochilas also shared some helpful cooking tips exclusively with Epicurious, which we’ve added at the bottom of the page.
To read more about Kochilas and Greek cuisine, click here.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt to taste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash the eggplants and pat dry. Puncture the skin in several places with a fork. Place on an ungreased pan and bake for about 25 minutes, turning, until the skin is blistered and shriveled. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes, until easy to handle.
2. While the eggplants are roasting, pulse the garlic, walnuts, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a food processor until ground and pastelike.
3. Cut off the stem and cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the pulp, discarding as many of the seeds as possible. Add the eggplant, a little at a time, to the bowl of the food processor and pulse on and off. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining olive oil and pulse until well combined. The eggplant puree does not have to be perfectly smooth. Season with salt and add a bit of sugar if necessary, as eggplants sometimes impart a trace of bitterness.
Diane Kochilas shares her tips with Epicurious:
• This version of the traditional eggplant spread melitzanosalata is from the north of Greece. Its similarity to the Middle Eastern dip baba ghanoush is due to the Turkish influence in Greek cuisine.
• In Greece, hunks of country bread are traditionally dipped into this spread. Toasted pita is not as traditional but makes an equally delicious accompaniment.