This simple Israeli preparation of our beloved eggplant is a simple relish that's served cold with salads and spreads. Great for scooping up with pita, Israeli eggplants also make a great sandwich spread.Yum
Usually called just chatzilim—"eggplants"—this preparation of an Israeli star vegetable is homey and familiar, though more often served at the beginning of a meal at restaurants or bought in a deli container. Not to be confused with Israeli eggplant salad, which consists of roasted eggplant mashed with seasoned tahini (and which many people, I believe, call baba ganoush), these eggplants are pan fried, with crisped skin and plenty of browned onions, held together with a smidge of tomato paste. They're a natural beside tahini, hummus, and salads, and also pair well with creamy cheeses slathered on bread. You can also simply mop it up with pita, always appropriate where Israeli salads are concerned.
How to make Israeli eggplants
You can use either a globe (Italian) eggplant or the smaller Middle Eastern variety (which looks like a smaller, less globular globe eggplant) in this recipe. Use one large or 2 medium eggplants. They should be sliced into rounds about ¼" / 5mm thick, i.e., just easily slicing an eggplant widthwise.
Making this eggplant dish begins with sauteing the onions until they're softened and nicely browned. Then, you nudge the onions to the side of the pan, pour in more oil (because eggplants are oil guzzlers—so not too much, only as much as you need, but not too little either), then place the eggplants in the center of the pan. Give the eggplants a stir every now and again and cook until they're soft and the skins are crisping. After that, simmer them with a bit of tomato paste, season well with salt, and you're all set.
These Israeli eggplants are generally served at room temperature or chilled. While eggplants generally don't last terribly long in the fridge, these will be good for the better part of a week since they're intended to be eaten cold.
Looking for more Israeli starters and salads?
- Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini - I love this so much, I consider it a main
- Turkish Salad - A cooked salad made with spiced tomatoes and peppers cooked down with plenty of onion, garlic, and herbs.
- Moroccan Meat Cigars - a superlative way to open a meat meal.
Israeli Eggplants - Chatzilim (parve)
- 1 large eggplant or 2 small
- 1 large onion
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste - 100 g
- Olive oil
- Salt - to taste
- Dice the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and sauté the onion until softened and browning.
- Slice the eggplant into thin rounds. Push the onion to the edges of the skillet and add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the center. Place the eggplant slices in the center and fry until softened and browning on bpoth sides.
- Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve cold.