~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eggplant Dip...Salata de vinete

Eggplant Dip... Salata de vinete. We grew up on this! Eggplant is a wonderful summer vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways. But, grilling the eggplant and making into a dip brings it to a new level. The smoky flavor permeates through every bite. It is an easy dish that freezes very well and can be such a treat during the winter months! This recipe requires only 4 ingredients and is so easy to make.

The dip can be eaten spread on a good crusty bread. You can also use pita bread triangles or any bread for that matter... it is good either way. We like it spread on good bread with a slice of tomato on top (or diced tomatoes). Hope you enjoy...


2 large eggplants
4-6 TBS oil, or to taste
2-3 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 of an onion, or to taste

Top with:
tomatoes, sliced or chopped


1. Wash and then pierce eggplants with a fork.

2. Place eggplants onto hot grill. Grill for 1o minutes or so and turn on the other side and grill for 10 minutes or so until skin is charred and brittle.

3. Place eggplants in a covered container so as to steam and soften the skin. It becomes easier to peel that way.

4. Cut in half and scoop out flesh... The eggplant at this point is soft and can be easily pureed. I use a wooden cleaver to chop and macerate the eggplant to a fine consistency. (almost like applesauce). You can also use a food processor to puree the eggplant ... just use the pulse button being careful to not over-process, though if you like a finer puree, you surely can do so.

5. Place mashed eggplant into a bowl and add 1 TBS of oil at a time and mix to incorporate until all the oil is used up. If you think the eggplants need a bit more oil, add a bit more, a little at a time. The oil really brings it all together. Add salt to taste and minced onion (to minimize the " bite" of raw onion, you can place the minced onion in a fine sieve and pour hot water over it, strain well and then add to eggplant.)

6.Before serving, if you want, you can drizzle a bit of extra olive oil on top of the salad....and maybe a bit of extra minced onion.

7. Serve with sliced bread, crostini, pita chips, etc... and some tomatoes( sliced or chopped)

If you want to keep some of the eggplant puree for later, do not add salt, oil and onion. Freeze in a container or a plastic bag and defrost at a later time.


foodiechickie said...

love this and the pickled peppers!

caro567 said...

Hi Ellie,
Love your recipes- I made salata de vinete yesterday and it is delicious. Can I ask, do you have a recipe for sarmale? My husband is Romanian and I'd love to make them for him. He'd be shocked! I'd love to see your way of making them.
Multumesc mult!

Ellie said...

Thank you for stopping by... I am glad you liked the "salata de vinete".

As for the sarmale, I grew up having sarmale done with sauerkraut...my mom would make a barrel of sauerkraut and then roll the sarmale using the sour cabbage..... she did not use sweet cabbage at all. In my opinion the sarmale are the best when done with sauerkraut only.
Having said that, I am now looking to make them using a combination of sauerkraut(the one you can buy) and sweet cabbage. This is purely intended for ease of preparation. I know most people will not make their own sauerkraut at home.

So, this is the reason why I haven't posted a recipe for sarmale yet. One day, I will need to make them... and then try to post it. Hope that helps...~Ellie

caro567 said...

Me again! Yes, the varza murata in the big barrels in the beci. Hehe- too much like hard work for me. How about ardei umpluti? Are they easier to make? You need to find the right kind of peppers or something, I think.

Ellie said...

Caro567, I am glad you liked the salata de beouf...if you like, you can check out my baked stuffed bell peppers(in recipe index -under turkey) as a variation to the ardei umpluti. Just add more beef and less rice...and use beef if you like. Hope that helps...~Ellie

Mihaela said...

Hi Ellie, si eu sunt romanca, si am gasit site-ul tau cautand retete pentru cream cheese puff pastry, si cand vad: romanian :) Am fost foarte placut surprinsa. Felicitari pentru blog si te astept sa il vizitezi pe al meu, sunt doar la inceput, la :

Mihaela said...

By the way, I have the recipe for Sarmale with sweet cabbage in combination with sauerkraut, just because when I first came in America I had only bought sauerkraut. Now I make my own sauerkraut in the fall, with whole cabbage, I like to eat it like a salad, with paprika and little olive oil. Delicious!

Ellie said...

Buna Mihaela,

Multumesc ca ai venit si pe la mine. Sper sa iti placa o reteta sau doua:). Si tu ai un blog frumos. Am trecut un pic si pe la tine:). Sa ai o zi buna. ~Ellie

Ligia said...

Hi :)
I've never made this entirely by myself, so I'm going to try it now. Thanks for the recipe!


Ellie said...

Hi Ligia!
So glad you stopped by...I am hoping the eggplant dip turned out well for you. It is a favorite of ours:)...We like it simple, without the mayo and a bit less oil than normal. Feel free to adjust to your preference...
Have a great day...~Ellie

Anonymous said...

What is that wood mallet actually called? I tried finding one online with no luck.

Ellie said...

Anon, The wooden cleaver/mallet is called a "satir de lemn" in Romanian... I purchased mine for pennies in Romania while on a visit to the "mountains". They were sold by country folk on the side of the road. Romanians use it for chopping vegetables, especially for this salad.

It really isn't necessary, as you can use the back of a knife just as well... but if you don't wan to use a steel blade, opt for using a plastic lettuce knife...the bigger kind.
Hope that helps...

p.s. I did a quick search online myself as well... can't even find a wooden knife for sale:(

heartlandroad said...

Wow wow wow! So many memories. I spent time in Romania as a teenager and I remember being shown how to make this - and Zacusca, too. This was the one that got me into trouble, though - the lady that made it added a raw egg, and said she liked doing this better than adding mayo as the shop-bought mayo wasn't that good. I agreed, commenting that it didn't taste good as it had too many "preservatif" in it.

For anyome other non-Romanians visiting Romania: "preservatif" does NOT mean "preservatives"... :-O

I see you don't add egg or mayo, so I'm safe with this recipe - will be trying it soon!

Ellie said...


Interesting... the raw egg version. Never heard of that, but I could easily see how maybe your friend was making a homemade mayo with the raw egg and oil... and then adding it to the salad. In any case, I much prefer mine without the mayo. I like it simple... with just salt, oil, and onion.

Everyone has their own version of this salad... besides those adding mayo, some may add sour cream, or even lemon juice. I suppose it's to bring the "whiteish" look to the eggplant.

Everyone has different preferences...and I think the salad should be made according to personal taste.

But I hope you like my version:)... and thanks for stopping by.

Unknown said...

Hi, I have been looking to buy a wooden cleaver here in the US for a long time now and simply can't find one. If you happen to know of a website that sells them, can you please email me at cristina.stoian2012@gmail.com? Thank you so much!

Ellie said...

Hi Cristina, Will try to see if I find one online. You might look into having someone from Romania send you one... or even see if someone is willing to custom make it for you. Just a few thoughts:)...

Unknown said...

I make this dip and instead of onions i use garlic ,try it you will like better then onions.

Ellie said...

Genya, Thanks for the suggestion:). We really love it with onion... it's how we know it growing up.

However, the garlic idea is wonderful as well... and it's definitely worth trying out... especially for garlic lovers:).

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

hi there i just finish coming from romania a week ago and my husband mother did this vignete but very much different she made her home made mayonnaise and added this "mayonnaise" to the mashed eggplant after that she chop some onions and added some salt and pepper but i made it here and its not the same not sure why is it because i don't cook the eggplant the sufficient time? or is it just because dumb please help me wit this one my husband really love this and wish to make it better that his mom

Ellie said...

Anon, I'm not sure why your vinete came out different.... it's hard to trouble shoot when there can be differences in ingredients used. But, as a general rule, the eggplant needs to be grilled until the outside is completely charred... and then you can strain the flesh of the eggplant so it won't be watery. This will give you the base for the vinete... The rest of the ingredients are added to taste... Hope that helps! Sometimes moms make things taste better because of the love they put in their food:)...