This Romanian Eggplant Dip (Salata de vinete) is a traditional recipe, extremely delicious and easy to make with just 3 ingredients. This recipe is served at every important event, Christmas, Easter, birthdays and major get-together encounters. And all summer long people are making and enjoying it.
If you’re a fan of Baba-Ganoush, or even of the Greek version named Melitzanosalata. you most likely will fall in love with this recipe too. Heck, it may even become your favorite eggplant dip. 🙂 It certainly deserves it.
It’s made with roasted or grilled eggplants and the full deliciousness comes from that smoky flavor it gets when the eggplants are grilled on high flame and they’re skin are burned, almost carbonized. The best flavor is achieved when they are put on direct flame, in outdoors grilling being more easy to do because of the smoke situation involved.
But I cooked it many times directly on the stove flame, protecting the stove’s surface with some aluminum foil to make it easy to clean and make a little less mess. However, if you have an old grill or a old cooking tray to use just for this smoked eggplant cooking, that will do fine.
There’s always the roasted in the oven version of cooking this spread, but it will lack that smoky flavor. It’s not quite the same, but I use it to make large batches to freeze and to indulge over the winter.
🍆 Ingredients For This Eggplant Dip/Spread
With just 3 simple ingredients you can make this marvelous spread.
Eggplants – make sure they are ripe, without any damages
Neutral flavor oil – I use sunflower oil
Onion – some yellow onion finely chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
🍆 How To Make This Eggplant (Aubergine) Dip
1️ Step one: Grill/roast the eggplants
Grill the eggplants on high flame. Turn them on all sides so they are cooked really well. They are done when their skin turns dark and they become really soft all over. As they are done, place them for a few minutes in a pot to release some of their bitter juice. Put other ones on the grill until you finish all the eggplants.
Take the cooked eggplants and place them on a piece of aluminum foil to protect the working space. Cut them open with a knife and scoop the interior. You can remove some of the seeds if you wish. Ditch the peel and place the eggplants in a colander or on a inclined cutting board to further release their water. Leave them about 20-30 minutes.
For the oven roasting:
Poke some holes into the eggplants with a fork to avoid them to explode in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them for about 45 min to 1 hour at 375 F. Turn them after 30 min. so they are cooking evenly on all sides. After you turn and move them, it is possible to release lots of juice, especially if they are large eggplants filled with water like mine. This juice may be caramelizing, even burning in the oven until the full cooking time passes.
Not to worry, that smoke is giving them more flavor. Just make sure to fully open up your windows. 🙂
Take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes. Proceed opening them up with the knife and remove all that beautifully cooked eggplant core to place it in the colander/sieve. Let them drain their water for 30 minutes and then you can either proceed with chopping, or let them completely cool off and place them in plastic bags to freeze for the winter. They can be kept up to 6 months.
2️ Step two: Chop the eggplants
Start chopping the eggplants with a knife. This is the traditional method I grew up with and the way I like to make this recipe. We have to chop them really well, to smooth out their fiber so they can be emulsified into a nice spread. You can also use a food processor and pulse one or two times until smooth. Do NOT make it too smooth, we don’t want to obtain a paste. It will ruin the taste and consistency of the spread.
3️ Step tree: Add oil and onion
After chopping, place them in a large bowl and season with salt to your taste. Start emulsifying the spread pouring in the vegetable oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the oil is incorporated. Finely chop the onion and add it to the spread. That’s it! It’s now ready to be served and enjoyed.
🥖 Serving The Eggplant Dip/Spread
You can spread this eggplant dip on crusty bread, top with tomato and bell pepper slices. Other accompaniments are pita bread, ciabatta, carrot, cucumber and celery sticks. Some freshly chopped parsley and black pepper and you’re in heaven!
Other delicious recipe for you:
- Romanian Sour Cream Garlic Soup (Radauteana) (silky smooth, soul food)
- Russian (Olivier) salad (kind of potato salad on steroids)
- White Beans Dip With Tomato Topping (other delicious dip to try)
Aubergine Dips: Romanian Smoky Eggplant Dip (Spread)
- 6-7 medium sized eggplants
- 7 tbsp neutral flavor oil (to taste)
- 1 medium onion
- Grill or roast the eggplants until skin dark/carbonized and really tender all over. Cut them open, scoop the content and place it in the colander to drain the excess water for about 30 min.
- Chop them well with a knife until fairly smooth. Transfer into a bowl, season with salt (to taste) and pour in the oil mixing continuously. Finely chop the onion and mix it in, blending everything well. (Or give them a pulse or two in the food processor along with the salt, oil and onion. Carefully, not to make it too smooth.)
- Serve this dip spreading it over toasted bread, topped with tomato and bell peppers slices. Or the vegan way, dip in with carrots, cucumber, celery sticks.