We’ve been wracking our brains for a blog post for a few days now, so Hilary thought, ‘why not do a recipe?’. She was actually surprised to find we hadn’t posted this one before. We make it constantly (and used to make it frequently in the UK where aubergines were higher in price and lower in quality).
It’s not Turkish but it does use ingredients readily available here year round. Quantities are difficult as I tend to make it with the aubergines I have on hand and am not saving for something else…
Today I used two long, fairly thin aubergines (just under half a kilo), a medium to large sized onion, two cloves of garlic, a huge tomato, three dessertspoonsful of vinegar and one dessertspoonful of sugar (less in summer when the tomatoes are very sweet). A good handfull of chopped parsley and a largish quantity of dried mint. Salt and pepper.
First I cut the aubergines into chunks. I quarter it lengthwise then chop the four pieces into wedges. Then I put it in a colander with salt for twenty minutes to half an hour. I don’t always do this with aubergines, but I do for this dish as it helps stop the aubergines from absorbing too much oil. Whilst that is happening I chop the onions into half moon rings (piyazlık), chop the garlic up fairly small and put those to one side. Then, in another bowl, I put the chopped up tomatoes (yes, in the UK I often used a can of plum tomatoes – usually a small can), along with the chopped parsley, dried mint, some pepper, the vinegar and the sugar.
While this is happening I rinse the aubergine wedges, squeeze each handful and dry on a towel. As soon as the garlic has been stirred in, I throw in the aubergine wedges and stir, frying for about five minutes (or till they take on a bit of colour). I then tip in the rest of the ingredients stir till it all combines, put on the lid and turn the heat down.
The time it takes from here on in depends a lot on the aubergines. It should end up pretty mushy and combined and this usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. It doesn’t need much attention, just the occasional stir to ensure it doesn’t burn.
I guess it could be eaten hot, but it’s much nicer if you allow it to cool down. It keeps in the fridge for three to four days (much like any zeytinyağlı mezze).