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This oven-roasted eggplant salad spread (“salata de vinete cu ardei copti“) is a delicious and healthy recipe my mom would make very often when I was a kid, and it is a common recipe in Moldovan cuisine. You can eat this as a side salad or as a spread on your favorite toasted bread.
In Moldova and Romania, you will find multiple variations of this recipe, all based on the star ingredient: eggplant.
Oven-Roasted Eggplant Salad Spread Recipe
Some people make this with roast eggplant, mayo, and garlic. Others make it with roast eggplant, capsicum, yellow onions, tomatoes, all pureed and simmered on a slow flame for 1-2 hours, calling it zacusca in Romanian cuisine.
This is similar to a zacusca but involves a rough chop of the vegetables, fresh tomatoes, and it’s easier to make as you don’t have to simmer it for hours.
In Moldova and Romania, people make this in big batches and preserve it in jars for the winter.
So, let’s get started with this rustic salad spread. For the ingredients, you will need:
- 4 eggplants (aubergines)
- 4 bell peppers (capsicum)
- 1-2 green onions
- 1 cup of cherry or plum tomatoes, or 2 vine tomatoes
- olive oil (1 tbsp for roasting the peppers and eggplant and 3 tbsp for the salad)
- salt and pepper
Step 1 – Once you have all your fresh ingredients, first wash the eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and spring onions.
Step 2 – With your ingredients ready, pre-heat your oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
Step 3 – Pierce the eggplants with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. Add the peppers to the same baking sheet if it’s large enough, or a separate baking sheet.
Step 4 – Then roast the eggplants and peppers in the oven for about 30 minutes until they are soft and fully roasted.
You’ll notice they are ready once the skin has buckled and crisped, and there’s slight charring on small parts of the skin.
Step 5 – After taking them out of the oven, allow the eggplants and peppers to cool down for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 6 – Once the eggplants have cooled down, slice them in half and scoop up the soft flesh in a bowl.
Step 7 – Once the peppers have cooled down, peel them, and chop them roughly (if you want a chunkier salad or spread) or dice them up finely for a delicate salad or spread.
Step 8 – Now, add the roast peppers, scooped-up eggplant, olive oil, spring onion, and salt and pepper to a bowl and mix it up well.
What to Serve with Eggplant Salad Spread
You can now serve it as a spread on your favorite toasted bread (sourdough pictured here). You can also serve it as a salad or side dish.
And there you have it. This oven-roasted eggplant salad spread commonly served in Moldova and Eastern Europe is so simple to assemble, yet it’s packed with flavor.
The mild, roasted taste of the pepper combines beautifully with the sweet, fleshiness of the eggplant. This is such a versatile salad spread and it can be lathered on so many things.
Eggplant is an important food in Eastern European cuisine, so it’s no surprise it’s the star of this rich and delicious salad spread.
For a simple, fresh taste of Moldovan and Romanian cuisine, you can’t go wrong with this oven-roasted eggplant salad spread with peppers and tomatoes.
Give it a try on a thick-cut slice of your favorite bread. It’s utterly delicious!
- 4 eggplants
- 4 bell peppers
- 1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes or 2 vine tomatoes
- 1-2 spring onions or scallions (to taste)
- 4 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for roasting and 3 tbsp for the salad/spread)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Wash the eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and spring onions.
- Preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius).
- Pierce the eggplants a few times with a fork and place them on a baking sheet greased with olive oil. On the same baking sheet or another if you don't have the room, add the bell peppers.
- Roast the eggplants and the peppers in the oven for about 30 minutes until completely roasted and soft.
- Allow the eggplants and peppers to cool down for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the eggplants have cooled down, slice them in half and scoop up the insides in a bowl.
- When the peppers cool down, peel the skin, remove the seeds, and slice them for a more rustic salad spread or chop them in smaller pieces for a more delicate spread.
- Dice the tomatoes and the spring onions.
- Now mix the eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, spring onions in a bowl and add olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste).
- Serve it up either as a salad or on your favorite toasted bread.
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Author: Doina Johnson is a content writer and strategist, who has traveled to over 30 countries. She is deeply passionate about world cuisine and loves to recreate recipes and foods she has tried from all over the world in her humble home kitchen.