This is another one of the most cooked and eaten Romanian recipes. It is absolutely great and I’ve been eating all my life, there is just one thing I cannot really understand. Why is this the only thing Romanians ever cook with aubergines? I mean, it is really delicious, it is cheap and easy to make, but still… aubergines are so great and so versatile… since having learned how to cook I’ve been eating aubergines cooked in about a hundred ways and a lot of these ways tasted at least just as good as this salad.
There is only just one another dish I remember my grandma ever cooking with aubergines, aubergine slices fried in a lot of oil and than smothered in a dangerous garlic sauce (mujdei) made with water and oil and about one whole head of garlic. It tasted great but I don’t think she made this more than 5 times in my whole childhood and teenage years. It was only aubergine salad either with oil or with mayonnaise. And either with onions or with garlic in it. I preferred the garlic – mayonnaise version with added red onions, but the onion – oil version was good as well. In summer we ate this at least once a week. And in winter at least once a month. In September my grandmother would buy a mountain of aubergines, cook them, chop them and freeze them. I think bags with aubergines were the only things that you would sometimes find in our freezer. This was definitely the main reason why my grandma ever bought a freezer, I’m sure.
I don’t cook this quite as often now (in Germany you just don’t get the same wonderful aubergines you get in Romania) but I do cook them regularly.
Normally you would cook your aubergines on the stove, directly over the flame. If you do not have a gas burner than just cook your aubergines in the oven. It works just as well, it is also a bit easier because you don’t have to worry about turning the veggies around so often.
They taste best smeared thickly on bread and accompanied by tomatoes.
- 3 medium aubergines
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- homemade mayonnaise
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- sunflower oil to taste
- bread and tomatoes to serve
- Wash and dry the aubergines. Lay some aluminum foil around the gas burner of your stove and place one aubergine directly on the flame. Let cook, turning often until the skin blackens and dries out. The flesh of the aubergines should become very soft.
- Alternatively pierce the aubergines a few times with a fork and place on a baking tray laid with parchment paper. Cook in the hot oven (200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit) for about half an hour, turning a couple of times in between, until the flesh is soft.
- Let the cooked aubergines cool down, then remove all the skin. Place the flesh in a colander and let drain well, about half to one hour. Chop the aubergines very finely, place in a bowl and mix with the garlic and mayonnaise or with the onion and oil. The amount of mayonnaise or oil depends on your taste. Some people (like me) feel that 1 or 2 tablespoons are OK, some other (like my grandma, mother, aunt) feel like a ton of them are OK.
- Season well with salt and pepper and enjoy.