Roasted Garlic Tyrokafteri recipe
We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
- Dish type
This is a great spread to serve with crusty bread, toasted pitta or crudites. I add roasted garlic and oregano to my version to complete the flavours!
33 people made this
- 1/2 (350g) jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons mashed roasted garlic
- 1 teaspoon hot chilli sauce, or to taste
- 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 250g feta, crumbled
- 100g soft cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
MethodPrep:15min ›Ready in:15min
- Place roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, hot chilli sauce, lemon juice, oregano and white pepper into a blender; puree until smooth. Add feta and soft cheese, and puree until smooth.
- With blender running, slowly pour in olive oil until incorporated and thickened. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(31)
Reviews in English (29)
This recipe immediately caught my eye because of the roasted garlic and the roasted red peppers; two of my favorite things to cook with. I followed the recipe to atee the first time, and while it was good, the amount of lemon juice overpowers everything else in the recipe! Ithink the lemon juice amount may be a typo. Anyway, I made it again and cut the lemon juice to a 1/4 cup,increased the roasted garlic to a 1/3 cup and left out the half & half (it didn't really need it, to me), and it was to die for. Five stars and highly recommended, just go easy on the lemon juice.-02 Jul 2008
I had this with pita chips and I love it!! I added fresh dill and left out the cream- I really don't think that would've added anything.-18 Dec 2008
Lovely!! I roasted my own bell peppers since I was roasting garlic. I didn't use the half and half. I also used closer to 1/3 c. of lemon juice. So very close to the actual recipe. It tasted very good, but we felt it would be great as a warm/hot dip. So we popped it in the oven at 350 for maybe 20-25 minutes. We ate it with parmesan garlic pita chips. So great!!! Thanks!-07 Apr 2008
Roasted Garlic Tyrokafteri recipe - Recipes
Roasted Poblano Hummus
Roasted Poblanos. I love them. I mean, I loveloveLOVE them. And luckily for me, they are used regularly in recipes all across Texas. Not only.
Lime Corn and Bell Pepper Chow-Dah
Dang, this time of year just beckons me to make soup! But soup isn’t always friendly to one’s waistline, you know? I mean, a hearty.
Chicken Thighs with Citrus Salsa Verde
The “squeeze” on citrus continues this week (pun intended). I’m obsessed with putting lemon in, on, over, and adjacent to just about everything this week. .
Cod w/ Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
I love my hearty meals. In the Winter months, I find myself craving stews and roasts and starches–oh my. But I have to keep reminding.
Duck, Duck, Dinner
When you were a kid, did you play Duck, Duck, Goose? And as you hit another kid on the head (c’mon, you know you didn’t.
Tyrokafteri (Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip)
Red. It’s my favorite color. I love it in my wardrobe, in nature, and in my kitchen. Whether it’s my well-used red, cast iron pot.
Fava Santorini (Fava Bean Spread)
The blue water. The white houses. The cool, Mediterranean breezes. Ah…Greece is paradise, and not just for the beautiful sites. The food will easily sweep.
Crock Pot Ham & Potato Chowder
Potatoes. Never met one I didn’t like. In fact, we even had a mashed potato bar at our wedding reception. Yup, mashed potatoes with all.
Greetings! I'm Dee Dee. Nonprofit escapee, military spouse, home cook, and purveyor of tasty goodness. My Midlife Kitchen is where I cook, blog, and give my not-so-humble opinions on topics big and small. Join me for a peek inside My Midlife Kitchen!
Tyrokafteri (Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Dip)
Red. It’s my favorite color. I love it in my wardrobe, in nature, and in my kitchen. Whether it’s my well-used red, cast iron pot, my trusty red spoon, or the food on the table itself, it gives me joy whenever I see it. And the one of the foods that is almost ALWAYS in my kitchen is a red bell pepper. Their versatility astounds, and their taste impresses no matter how it’s used.
In this particular case, it’s the smoky flavor that imparted by a good roasting of the peppers in a blazing hot oven that grabs my attention–and my taste buds. Mixed with creamy feta and silky olive oil, and well, it’s “I need to be alone” good.
This dip recipe is my version of a favorite from a Greek restaurant I’ve mentioned previously here. Nostos, found in Northern Virginia, is one of the best there is. And when Yia Yia is in the kitchen (Yia Yia is Greek for “grandmother”), it’s time to dig in. This delectable dip is simply addicting. I found myself craving it in between visits to the restaurant, so the only way to keep the cravings at bay was to find a way to make my own. Google the name of the dip–tyrokafteri–and many versions pop up. I read several before creating my own version, and to say it is a hit whenever I serve it is an understatement.
Roast, blend, spread, and enjoy. Red may be your favorite color now, too.
Tirokafteri Recipe (spicy Greek feta cheese dip)
A proper Greek table is incomplete without tirokafteri. This is the second most iconic Greek dip (after tzatziki, obviously). I can totally understand why. It’s spicy, rich in terms of texture thanks to feta and feels so damn velvet that you can’t just have a dip in it.
Creamy, cheesy, spicy, it includes the cornerstone ingredient of Greek cuisine: feta cheese. Many people add several types of cheese to their tirokafteri, such as manouri, mizithra and anthotyro. Others prefer it runny by adding some Greek yogurt or buttermilk. In northern Greece, it’s a very popular ingredient in souvlaki (pita wraps).
You can’t make a tirokafteri recipe without a spicy agent. Its name means “spicy cheese”. Chili peppers, red pepper flakes, spicy paprika can all do the trick. You can use one of these ingredients, or even all of them, depending on how you can tolerate with spicy food.
My recipe for tirokafteri is pretty simple but relies heavily on high-quality ingredients. I always roast red peppers as they bring a deep, smoky flavor. Also, organic Greek olive oil is a prerequisite for all my recipes. But I can’t point out enough the importance of feta cheese. Barrel aged feta cheese is a staple I always have in my fridge and makes all the difference in tirokafteri. Barrel aging gives feta a unique flavor. Just like some wines improve with age, so does feta. I always cut it in large chunks and whizz it in the blender just enough to mix it up, without mashing the cheese. Trust me on this one, you need this tirokafteri recipe in your life!
Feta cheese aging in barrels in the making
I can&rsquot believe the Super Bowl is on Sunday. It doesn&rsquot even feel like it. We&rsquore already one month done with 2013. Seriously, the older you get, faster time goes. It&rsquos sad but that just gives you all the more reason to live it up, right?!
I must say that I ended the year of being 25 with a bang. I still cannot believe what happened earlier this week (I know, you&rsquore probably thinking, &ldquowhen is she going to shut up about it?&rdquo) and I still cannot believe all that I&rsquove accomplished in a year. It&rsquos nice to reflect every now and then on your accomplishments. I think you kind of have to otherwise you just get really deflated. You need a mental boost and what better than to take a look back at your accomplishments? We were talking about this at work yesterday and while it doesn&rsquot seem like you do a lot, when you actually write it all down and it&rsquos in front of you, you&rsquore like WOW.
So this is my last Super Bowl dip for the week. I&rsquoll have a huge round-up tomorrow of ALL the dips/apps featured this week, INCLUDING all the other snacks/dips/apps on my blog within that round-up, so stay tuned!
This dip &ndash I can&rsquot ever say the name of it correctly the first time &ndash but nevermind the name, let&rsquos talk about how I&rsquove never even heard of this dip before until I saw it on Gaby&rsquos blog. It looked and sounded so good. I&rsquom all for anything Greek and with the roasted peppers thrown in &ndash I&rsquom there! It&rsquos basically a whipped feta dip but omgosh, so brilliant.
My tastebuds exploded when I had my first taste. It&rsquos creamy, cheesy, and salty and full of FLAVOR. You guys, you must try this if you&rsquove never had before. It&rsquos PERFECT with pita chips and your game day buddies will love you for introducing them to a unique dip that they can literally whip up in 3 minutes! The 13-cup KA food processor works MARVELOUSLY to help whip this up for you )
Add the salt to a large pot of water. Peel the potatoes and boil in the salted water until well done and are easily pierced with a fork. Place in a colander to drain.
Return the potatoes to the pot and sprinkle with pepper and mash to combine.
In the blender bowl of a food processor (or with a hand mixer), purée the potatoes and garlic until well mixed, about 30 to 45 seconds. Still puréeing, slowly add the olive oil and vinegar, alternating between them, tasting as you go, until the mixture is smooth. Skorthalia should be creamy and thick. If it gets too thick, add a little cold water (but not more than 1/4 cup).
Skordalia is a matter of taste, some prefer a mild garlic taste, while others prefer a strong garlic taste. If the taste is too strong, increase the number of potatoes a bit. If the taste is not strong enough, increase the garlic.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.
Melitzanosalata (Traditional Vegan recipe)
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 minutes on open flame or 45 minutes in the oven
Makes: 1 cup
- 2 &ndash 3 eggplants (depending on the type) about 500 grams (1.1 lb)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 &ndash 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 or more cloves minced/crushed garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp paprika (optional)
- Parsley or olive to decorate (optional)
- Cook the eggplants on open flame until the flesh has charred and the interior is tender, for about 15 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can either grill or cook the eggplants in the oven as explained above.
- Allow to cool and carefully remove the charred skin.
- Pound the garlic with the salt using a pestle and mortar. Mash the flesh of the eggplants using a fork. Add the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika and olive oil and mix until creamy.
- Garnish with finely chopped parsley or an olive on top.
- Serve with pita chips or vegetable sticks.
Note: If baking them in the oven, add smoked paprika to get the smoky flavour.
One day when I made melitzanosalata, I had some leftover tyrokafteri. I added it to the melitzanosalata and we loved it. Ever since, if I don&rsquot have some tyrokafteri, I like adding some feta and some hot pepper, such as some harissa or chili or hot paprika.
Another twist on this Melitzanosalata with Tyrokafteri is adding roasted red peppers called Piperies Florinis.
Whenever, I have some at home I always love adding them as they add colour and lovely a sweet flavour to this already wonderful dip.
Melitzanosalata recipe (Greek Eggplant dip) – Tips
When preparing this traditional Greek melitzanosalata recipe, make sure you use some fresh aubergines and give them enough time to bake until soft and cooked throughout. If rushed, the aubergines can be quite bitter and the aubergine skin will not have had a chance to infuse the flesh with its light, smoky flavor.
Baking the eggplants will take about 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants, so if you are in a rush you can bake them sliced (as explained in the recipe below).
For a different twist to this traditional Greek melitzanosalata recipe, try adding some crumbled feta (50-60g/2oz), which will give it a creamier look and a more intense, salty, Mediterranean flavour.
For the traditional Greek melitzanosalata recipe, the eggplants are added either diced, which gives more homely touch or all the ingredients are pulsed together, until smooth and creamy. Both alternatives are delicious, so it’s up to you to decide!
This traditional Greek eggplant dip (melitzanosalata) is best served with some crusty bread or homemade pitas and also as part of a meze platter with some spicy feta cheese dip. Enjoy!
heart solid heart solid icon
Greek marinated chicken thighs
Thighs. For many of us, the mention of thighs immediately causes us to think of swimwear shop changing rooms, gaps that are unattainable and hot wax followed by searing pain. Well, we’re here to redirect your attention, because some thighs are better than others.
Chicken thighs are a good and generally accessible source of lean protein although they do have more calories and fat than white chicken meat, they tend to be more tender and flavourful. Still, because of the caloric and fat content, you may not want to be eating chicken thighs every day. So, when you do decide to enjoy them, a great recipe is important. We’ve got you covered with this recipe for Greek marinated chicken thighs.
If you can’t find boneless chicken thighs, there is a way to remove the bone. One day, we hope to show you a video of our dad de-boning chicken thighs he’s a master! In the meanwhile, you can always cook the thighs with the bone in, but adjust the cooking time as it will be longer.
We love using a meat thermometer when cooking poultry we feel much more reassured that the meat is cooked through. If you don’t have a meat thermometer cut through the thickest thigh and be sure that you don’t see any pink, and that the juices run clear.
In the recipe below we suggest that you marinate the chicken thighs for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. However, if you prefer you can definitely marinate them for longer. Just be sure to keep them in the refrigerator.
As we mention in the recipe notes, we prefer to make these chicken thighs on the outdoor grill, but if that is not an option for you, they will definitely work on a stove top grill or frying pan.
Looking for ways to enjoy Greek marinated chicken thighs?
- We love to serve them with a side of green salad (maroulosalata), some tzatziki and pita bread.
- They make a great protein topping for all sorts of salads, including this one made with spinach, dates and peaches.
- Make a sandwich with these chicken thighs, grilled vegetables and a layer of spicy feta dip called tyrokafteri. Yum!!
Pin this recipe if you like it!
If you want to see more chicken recipes, look at these!
I have a long history of burger creations that have come out of the Meatwave, so many that I didn't think I'd really be surprised by a burger I made myself anymore. So it was a little floored after I made these pljeskavica&mdashSerbian-style burgers&mdashand was blown away with how they tasted. It was like no burger I've had before, and maybe that unexpected quality heightened my personal love for them, but seriously, they were crazy delicious and think you'd be equally impressed if you tried them too.
Not having had pljeskavica before, I'm not sure how authentic what I created was&mdashI tend to find out after posting that, what I learn about dishes on the internet is often not very true to their origin. One thing I can say though was the lepinja I made to use as the buns was legit. I've had this Serbian flatbread before and successfully made it at home once in the past, and representing one of my earliest baking successes, it's found a soft spot in my heart. The two things to things to really know about this bread is that it's made from a very wet dough and it needs to rise multiple times.
These two traits, combined with a high heat bake, result in a bread with an impressive hole structure that has a slightly crisp outside, and a soft and spongy interior. Usually the loaves are much larger than what you see here, but I purposefully made the lepinja smaller to be burger-sized for this particular application.
For the burger toppings, I knew I wanted three things&mdashsliced onions, avjar, and urnebes. Onions were easy, avjar is a roasted red pepper and eggplant spread I knew how to make already (although I did buy it in the store this time around), so that left urnebes as the new recipe challenge for me. An authentic version of this cheese and hot pepper spread looked it was going to require ingredients that would be difficult to find, specifically procuring the right cheese. So I took some clues from others for a substitute and used a mixture of cream cheese and feta as the base, to which I mixed roasted hot red peppers to taste, garlic, and paprika.
Moving on to the burger portion of the recipe, I found a lot of variations pljeskavica that used different combinations of meats, sometimes included bacon, some with cheese, others without, etc. So settling on one directions wasn't easy, but it also seemed like there was no one right answer and creativity can come into play here. I was intrigued by use of cheese, which can be stuffed in the center or mixed in with the meat. The cheese of choice is kashkaval, which i couldn't find and ended up using its Italian ancestor, caciocavallo. If you can't find that, a mild provolone will suit you well.
Also in the beef mixture was bacon, onion, hot paprika, salt, pepper, and baking soda. That last ingredient may be a bit of a head scratcher, but I was familiar with its use from when I tried out a recipe for cevapi, a Balkan sausage. The addition of baking soda gives the meat a final springy texture that's definitely unique and sets it apart from other ground meat recipes you may have tried.
Another thing I noticed when doing research for this recipe is that pljeskavica can come in a variety of sizes. A flat, oversized patty is fairly common, so is smaller portions, which is what I wanted to do here for serving in large group setting. I did shape my patties flatter than usual to to try get a skinnier end burger.
But that didn't end up doing much as the meat ceased up and cooked into its usual burger shape on the grill. I grilled these over direct heat, flipping them often for even cooking and better browning. I also cooked them longer than I usually do&mdashmy preference is for a medium-rare burger, but I let these cook until just cooked through.
Once the burgers were done, I quickly toasted the lepinja on the grill, cut side down, until warmed through. I then slathered a layer of ajvar on each bun and topped with a patty, urnebes, and onion slices.
I was kind of just expecting a slightly more seasoned burger, but the flavor ended up really blowing me away. The bacon added a nice smokiness, not to mention the extra juiciness of its fat, while the paprika went a long way in giving the patty a good touch of heat that was contrasted by creamy pockets of cheese. The meat itself was much different than an American burger, with a finer texture and a springiness that resulted from the use of baking soda. As if that weren't enough, the bread and toppings elevated this from amazing to totally killer. The ajvar had a great creaminess and sweetness that was contrasted by the spicy and salty urnebes and sharp and crunchy onions. The fresh lepinja was also key&mdashif you were to switch to a normal squishy American-style bun, you would be missing a big chunk of the overall experience. This burger really tasted like nothing I've had before, all in very good ways that surprised me, which can be a little hard to do now that I'm 16 years into the Meatwave!
Published on Thu Apr 18, 2019 by Joshua Bousel
- Yield 6 servings
- Prep 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- Inactive 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- Cook 10 Minutes
- Total 3 Hours 10 Minutes
- For the Lepinja
- 400 grams bread flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
- 12 grams white sugar (about 1 tablespoon)
- 8 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
- 7 grams instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 300 grams water, lukewarm (about 1 1/4 cups
- 30 grams milk, lukewarm (about 2 tablespoons)
- For the Urnebes
- 2-3 red jalapeño or fresno peppers
- 1/2 lb feta or farmers cheese
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- For the Burgers
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/4 lb bacon, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely diced onions
- 1/4 cup grated Kashkaval cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
- To make the lepinja: Place flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a the bowl of stand mixer and whisk to combine. Add in water and milk and mix on low speed using a dough hook until no dry flour remains. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer stand, cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal pieces, form each into a rough ball. Transfer dough balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 550°F. Flatten each piece of dough into a disc roughly 1/2-inch thick, cover, and let rise for 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to middle rack of oven and bake until bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove baking sheet form oven and transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool.
- To make the urnebes: Preheat broiler. Place peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in broiler until skins are charred and peppers are softened, turning peppers as necessary to roast evenly. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel, stem, deseed, and finely chop peppers. Place peppers, feta or farmers cheese, cream cheese, garlic, and paprika in a medium bowl and combine using a fork or whisk. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the burgers: Place beef, bacon, onion, cheese, paprika, salt, pepper, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix with hands until well combined. Break off approximately 1/3 pound of beef mixture and gently shape into a flat patty. Repeat with remaining ground beef.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place burgers on grill and cook until well seared on both sides and almost cooked through, flipping burgers occasionally during cooking. Transfer burgers to a platter.
- Cut each lepinja in half lengthwise and place on grill, cut side down. Cook until bread is warm and slightly toasty, about 1 minute. Transfer buns to a serving platter. Spread a layer of ajvar along the bottom of each bun, top with burger, urnebes, onions, and top side of bun. Serve immediately.
You Might Also Like
BBQ Bacon Burgers
Blackened Cheeseburgers with Bacon and Louisiana Remoulade
Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
Phil The urnebes sound suspiciously like pimento cheese - were the flavors similar? Posted Fri, Apr 19 2019 10:00AM
Josh @Phil No, it was not like pimento cheese. It was much more like Greek tyrokafteri, but not sure if you've ever had that. The urnebes was thick and not very creamy. The flavor was salty and spicy. Posted Sat, Apr 20 2019 7:17AM
Ivan Sretenovic Alright first I want to salute you on your effort to recreate quite complicated full meal. Lets see, it appears you like hot so here is authentic recipe for Urnebes Salad from south of Serbia where it originates:
Feta Cheese [100%] - 500g
Sweet Paprika [1%] - 5g
Hot Crashed Pepper [1.75%] - 10g
Garlic [2%] - 10g
Hot Ajvar [18%] - 90g
Sour Cream [20%] - 100g
Now as you can see I gave you measurements in percentage where cheese is always 100%, and sour cream is 20% of the amount of cheese you use in our case where you use 500g of cheese that's 100g of sour cream. This way you will be able to recreate exactly same taste no matter how much cheese you have there will be no guessing game. You can also see I gave you Ajvar for this recipe. Its because urnebes traditionally has roasted red pepper too but since it is pain in the ass to roast and peal it you can use ajvar which is 90% roasted pepper anyway. If you never saw this before it is called bakers percentage recipe and used in professional cooking. That's why dishes at some restaurant always taste the same they never change like when you make something at home. Posted Thu, Jul 30 2020 11:00PM
Ivan Sretenovic Pljeskavica meat is a story for it self. Real pljeskavica is good quality meat of forth quarter of cow. It is mix of different cuts like, neck, chuck, brisket all forth quarter cuts and then you add suet which is kidney fat that is very mild. Reason why you are adding this fat is that you want to create 30% fat in pljeskavica meat mixture. Pljeskavica CAN NOT be low on fat. That's why it doesn't fall apart but rather stretches like rubber.
Now once you got all your meat and suet you cut it on cubes and add 2% of salt per meat weight. For instance for 1000g of meat you are salting it with 20g of salt. YOU DO NOT add anything else. There are no spices, no pepper nothing just salt.
Now you grind this meat on 10mm and leave it 24h in fridge on temperature between 0C-3C. After 24h you take this grounded meat and ground it again on 8mm and then mix it with your hands for like good 20 min.
You are returning it back to fridge again for a few hours to allow proteins to reconnect.
After that you are ready to make pljeskavica. Each one weights ether 120g or 200g. now comes onion. YOU DO NOT mix meat with onion you stretch your patty and put onion on top then fold it back again so onion is in the middle. You don't want onion to burn on grill but to be in the middle to just heat up.
You shape your patty right from the fridge you want meat to be cold when you start grilling. So you make your patty, put onion in it and fold it and place it on hot grill. YOU DO NOT turn. Leave it fro 3 min one side and then 3 min other side.
If you follow those steps chances are you will experience better pljeskavica then you had in serbia since not all places make it proper way. You DO NOT want to put ajvar on it or anything other then: urnebes, onion or cabbage salad. All other condiments will spoil taste of meat which is out of the heaven.
If you wish so I can send you some links for videos so you can see how its made and what's main difference between burger and pljeskavica. Just bare in mind in pljeskavica there are no spices other then 2% of salt per meat weight and onion. Absolutely nothing else. Posted Thu, Jul 30 2020 11:11PM
Ivan Sorry I forgot very important ingredient for urnebes that you are not using which is 25% of oil. Sunflower for instance or canola don't use olive oil. So for 500g of cheese 25% of oil would be 125g. Posted Thu, Jul 30 2020 11:13PM
Every decent taverna in Greece has a category on their menu called alifes (αλοιφές), or “spreads” in English. It usually includes popular choices such as tzatziki, skordalia, taramosalata, tyrokafteri, melitzanosalata and more. We treat these dishes either as mezes, to be paired with a variety of other small plates for the main meal, or as dips, which we normally order as an appetizer to start the meal.
One of my favorite dips is melitzanosalata, made with roasted eggplant. Believed to originate in Southeast Asia, the eggplant was not used in Greece before Ottoman rule. Its cultivation and use gradually became widespread in the Mediterranean region during the Ottoman period nowadays, the eggplant is a staple ingredient of Greek cuisine, as evidenced by dishes such as moussaka, papoutsakia and briam.
Variations on roasted eggplant dip are common across the Mediterranean and the Middle East. While the Middle Eastern takes often include tahini (namely baba ghanoush), in Greece they are usually made just with olive oil and lemon or vinegar, although sometimes yogurt or mayonnaise is added for a milder, creamier result. Often roasted sweet red peppers are included but you’ll sometimes also find sundried tomatoes and olives, too. Chopped fresh herbs are a must.
The secret to melitzanosalata is roasting the eggplant until its skin is charred, in order to give the dip its smoky flavor. You can throw your eggplants whole on a barbecue, turning them to cook evenly, or you cook them directly on the open flame of a gas cooktop. These methods work best for the smoky flavor we’re looking for. But if you don’t have access to an open flame or barbecue, the easiest (and most common) method is to broil them in the oven. You must keep the eggplant whole as it is, stem on, and pierce it all over with a fork to prevent it from exploding while it cooks! Once the eggplants are charred, soft and wrinkly, they are ready to use.
Another important tip is to let the eggplant strain well before you blitz it. If the final result is too loose, you can always mix in a couple of teaspoons of breadcrumbs, but if you allow it to strain well that will not be necessary.
I make lots of different variations on this recipe, often depending on how I’m planning to use it. The recipe I’m sharing here is easy to make and very versatile – I even sometimes use it as a side for fish or mixed with pasta. I also love it in sandwiches, as eggplant pairs great with several lovely cheeses such as feta, manouri and haloumi.
5 medium eggplants
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
60 ml lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped celery stalk
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp chopped green olives
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra to serve
1 tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your broiler at 375 F / 190 C. Wash eggplants and pat dry. Pierce them with a fork all over and place them on a baking tray on the top shelf. Broil for 30 minutes, then flip them and broil them for another 20 minutes, until they go very soft and the skin turns wrinkly and charred. (To do it over an open flame, stick a large fork in the eggplant and hold it over the fire until it goes very soft and the skin turns wrinkly and charred.)
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 15-30 minutes. Once cooled down and easy to hold, carefully scoop out the softened eggplant from the charred skin using a spoon and discard most of the seeds (if there are any). Place on a colander, add salt and allow the insides to strain for at least 10-15 minutes. Gently press them with your hands to remove any excess water and finely chop them or pulse them using a food processor (I usually pulse them but don’t cream them entirely, as I like the dip to be a bit chunky when I eat it).
Place the eggplant into a bowl and add in the chopped scallions and garlic, the peppers, the olives, the yogurt and the herbs. Mix well. Gradually add in the olive oil, and then add the lemon juice, cumin, some pepper and adjust the salt if necessary. Mix well with a spoon. Transfer into a bowl, drizzle with some extra olive oil, and serve. You may enjoy it warm or chilled.
To convert metric measurements to US and British kitchen units, click here.