Eggplant is a staple in Mediterranean cooking. We eat it regularly throughout the summer and early fall. It’s so versatile that you can do almost anything with it – grilled, oven-roasted, or fried – it is equally delicious no matter how you cook it. Eggplant can incorporated into main courses and makes a terrific appetizer or side dish as well.
One thing that’s important to know about cooking with eggplant is that it soaks up flavor and oil like sponge. Salting the eggplant before cooking helps cut down on the amount of oil that gets soaked up. For this fried eggplant salad I prefer to use Italian eggplants or smaller globe (American) ones which soak up less oil while frying.
The end result in this eggplant salad is a tangy, garlicky dish that makes a complement to meat and fish – or just toss it with mixed green leaves like Jess does, and you’ve got a fantastic fried eggplant salad.
- Two pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed with the knife, then chopped
- A generous handful of parsley, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Sprinkle your eggplant generously with salt and let it drain in a colander for 2 hours (keep over plate or in the sink to catch the liquid from the eggplant).
- Rinse off the salt and pat eggplant dry with a towel.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the eggplant and fry, stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, until the pieces of eggplant are browned (the eggplant soaks up the oil so you may need to add a little, just be careful not to add too much).
- Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, parsley and salt in a large bowl.
- Remove the eggplant from the pan and add to the mixture in the bowl. Mix well and refrigerate for an hour, then serve.
- Prepare Ahead: This dish can be made a day in advance, just keep it refrigerated.