Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad
These are very hot little firecrackers from the orient. They can be used to add spice to almost any oriental dish. They dry very easily and can be stored and used this way for a long time.
Makes 6 servings
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 small green chiles, such as Thai, seeds removed, chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
- 1 pound small tomatoes (about 8), cut into wedges
- 1/2 pound Persian cucumbers (about 3), sliced
- A deep-fry thermometer
Purée cilantro, parsley, garlic, half of chiles, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor until very smooth; season herb oil with salt and set aside.
Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and set yogurt sauce aside.
Place eggplants in a colander set in the sink; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes to drain, then pat dry.
Fit a medium pot with thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 2″. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375°.
Working in batches and returning oil to 375° between batches, fry eggplants, turning often, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplants to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool.
Combine eggplants in a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers, and remaining chiles; drizzle with some reserved herb oil and toss to combine. Season salad with salt.
Spoon reserved yogurt sauce onto a platter, top with salad, and drizzle with more herb oil.
Do ahead: Herb oil and yogurt sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.
Bon Appetit | August 2014