Salatat Bathinjan (Eggplant Appetizer)

Eggplant, often called “the poor man’s meat” or “the poor man’s caviar,” is one of the staple foods of the Middle East, valued for it’s great versatility.

1 large eggplant, peeled and thickly sliced
salt
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 medium hot pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt. Place in a strainer or colander, top with a weight, and allow to drain for 45 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the eggplant slices and fry on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove the eggplant slices, dice them, then set aside in a bowl.

Mash the garlic cloves with salt. Add to the diced eggplant along with the hot pepper and lemon juice. Chill slightly and serve.

From “From the Lands of Figs and Olives” by Habeeb Salloum and James Peters

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