Salata de Vinete (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

Salata de Vinete, a roasted eggplant dip, is a common Romanian dish served at almost all traditional Romanian restaurants and is served in households across the country. In Romania, many cold starters are referred to as “salata”. A salata can be anything from a spread or dip (like this dish) to a mix of grilled vegetables or sides served alongside a meat dish. Salata de Vinete is typically served with bread or crackers and is topped with diced tomatoes. It can easily be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. It is perfect not only as a dip with crackers or bread, but as a spread on sandwiches as well. Think of this dip as the guacamole of Romania!

This recipe uses only traditional ingredients of eggplant, sunflower oil, onion, and lemon juice. In other recipes, one may substitute olive oil or mayonnaise for the sunflower oil. Often times, black pepper and fresh garlic are also added to Salata de Vinete recipes.

 Servings: 12

Ingredients:

3 large eggplants

1/4 cup sunflower oil, plus more if needed

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more if needed

1 onion, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Diced tomatoes to garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a fork, pierce the eggplant skins all over. Add the eggplant to a baking sheet and roast until soft and the skin is charred, turning halfway (approximately 40 minutes).

Remove the eggplant from the oven and peel the eggplants. Cut a slit along the side of each eggplant and transfer the eggplants to a strainer for a couple of minutes to allow the juices to drain.

Finely chop the eggplants with a knife until a smooth puree is formed. Add the eggplant puree to a bowl and stir in the sunflower oil and lemon juice until well-blended, slowly, stirring constantly. Adjust sunflower oil and lemon juice to taste. Gently stir in the chopped onion. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Garnish with fresh diced tomatoes.

Serve with bread, crackers, pita bread, or veggies.

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