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Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts (Kioupia)

By: 
Tina Wasserman
Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts

About four miles into the island of Rhodes, I found a converted farmhouse nestled in the mountains, where I was served this eggplant dish. It is similar to baba ghanoush, but because the yogurt replaces the sesame-seed paste, it’s lighter - and less caloric! While I don’t know the genesis of this dish, the island of Rhodes had a large Jewish population after the 15th century and the use of eggplant and yogurt is indicative of a Jewish connection.

Makes 6 appetizer servings
Ingredients: 
2 large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1⁄4 cup Greek yogurt or Lebni (American yogurts will be too watery)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
Directions: 
  1. Wash the whole eggplants and pierce with a small, sharp knife in one or two places.
  2. Place them on a cookie sheet and broil (alternatively, grill on an outdoor hot charcoal grill), turning the eggplants every 10 minutes until they are deflated and their skins are charred.
  3. Transfer the eggplants to a colander placed in the sink and slit the skins open. Allow the eggplants to drain for at least 10 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.
  4. Remove some of the seeds (not all) and discard the stem and skin.
  5. Scoop the eggplant pulp into a processor workbowl (or a regular workbowl if a processor is not available).
  6. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
  7. Pulse the processor on and off 7 times until the mixture is fairly smooth but still a little chunky. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Alternatively, stir briskly with a fork and/or wire whisk.
  8. Whisk in the Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. If the mixture appears too dry, add more olive oil or lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  9. Toast the pine nuts on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven until lightly golden (approximately 5 minutes).
  10. Just before serving, fold the toasted nuts into the eggplant, reserving a few for garnish. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Tina's Tidbits: 

  • If you can, roast your eggplant outdoors—it imparts a unique flavor to the eggplant. Otherwise, indoor broiling works fine.
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