Romanian eggplant salad salata de vinete recipe

I think the eggplant salad is the most traditional Romanian salad we have. Greeks have Greek salad, Italians have Caprese salad and we have Romanian eggplant salad. Or salata de vinete as we call it in Romanian. I once had a French boss and each time he came to Romania, he asked the team to take him to a traditional Romanian restaurant where he could eat… What do you think? Eggplant salad and sarmale with mamaliga! He could go to the fanciest restaurants, but nothing tasted better than our simple eggplant salad with onion.

So, one year, for Christmas, I gave him the eggplant salad recipe as a gift. You don’t want to know how happy he was! What can I say?… he was as passionate about cooking as me! That’s how he convinced himself that there is nothing complicated about this salad. And who do you think was sending me pictures of salata de vinete one week after straight from Paris! Exactly, my boss!Romanian eggplant salad salata de vinete recipe

But let’s stop wasting time and get down to business! For eggplant and onion salad – the classic and most common version, we only need 4 ingredients:

– roasted eggplants

– oil

– onion

– salt

How do we make eggplant salad?

Roast the eggplant, preferably on the stove or on the grill outside (if you have a garden). That way they will have that unmistakable burning smell that gives the salad its flavor. There is also an oven version, but you won’t get the taste of your childhood. Whichever version you choose, don’t forget to prick the eggplant with a fork so that it doesn’t explode in the kitchen. Bake them on one side, then on the other until they soften well and you can clean them. Then let them drain in a sieve to remove the bitterness from them. You can also use frozen eggplants (after thawing them first, of course!)

After they have drained, put the eggplants in a large bowl and mix them with a hand mixer like this one, using the whisk for eggs/creams. Do not use a blender or Nutribullet because it will also grind the seeds and we don’t want that. We just want to get a fine paste.

Add a spoonful of sunflower oil to a medium eggplant and mix once more. If you are tempted to use olive oil or another type of oil, give up the idea. Grandma or mother didn’t make salad with fancy oils, so you won’t get the taste of childhood with them. Get a quality sunflower oil from the supermarket.

Finely chop a suitable onion and mix with a fork in the salad (not with the mixer).

Add salt to taste.

This is the traditional Romanian eggplant salad salata de vinete recipe. From it you can make different variations. If you add mayonnaise, you will get eggplant salad with mayonnaise. If you add yogurt, you will have an eggplant salad with yogurt, less caloric. If you are on a diet, you can not put oil in it at all. If you don’t like onion, you can leave it out and you will have an eggplant salad without onions and without mayonnaise.

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