Greek Roasted Eggplant

This Greek dish is easy to prepare on a sailboat.

Greek eggplant
Cook's Notes
To keep eggplant for a few days, unrefrigerated: Buy fresh — firm flesh; smooth, bruise-free skin; green stem, not brown or withered. Store below (never in a plastic bag) in a well-ventilated hammock or basket, out of direct sunlight. Store solo — it reacts badly to other produce that releases ethylene gas as it ripens (much of it does!). Do not store in fridge — like human snowbirds, eggplant dislikes cold temperatures!
Lynda Morris Childress

On charters in the Greek Islands aboard our Atlantic 70 cutter, Stressbuster, my husband, Kostas, and I introduce guests to delicious Greek food and culinary traditions. One of those is the custom of gathering friends in late afternoon or evening to share mezedes, varied small plates of food presented simultaneously and shared among those at the table — like Spanish tapas — usually accompanied by wine or ouzo, always accompanied by fun! Although the portions are appetizer-size, mezedes are not “starters.” They are a meal unto themselves.

Eggplant is a Greek-cuisine staple; its versatility and availability in many locations make it ideal for use on board in other locales. This roasted-eggplant meze is a favorite. It’s easy to whip up on charter — just roast the eggplant while you’re underway — and ideal either as part of a mezedes lunch or cocktail-hour finger food. To get the desired consistency, Greek cooks process the oil and lemon juice before adding. My own “hack” is to use a very small amount of mayonnaise to achieve the same creamy texture without a food processor — plus, it saves time! Kali orexi! (Good appetite!)

Savory Greek Eggplant Meze

  • 2 small/medium globe eggplants (dark purple)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Scant tablespoon mayonnaise (use to taste)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 jar Kalamata olives
  • 1-2 baguettes, sliced thinly

Prick eggplants with a fork. Wrap in foil and roast at 400 degrees until soft when squeezed (about 40 to 45 minutes). When cool enough to touch, remove from foil and remove skins (they should peel off easily). Coarsely chop the eggplant, then place in a small bowl and mash a bit with a fork to form a coarse pulp. Add garlic and onion, then drizzle in oil, stirring with a fork. Add lemon juice and salt; stir to combine. Add mayonnaise and stir to blend evenly. Transfer to a shallow bowl or a small plate. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Garnish with chopped parsley and, if desired, an olive or two. Serve at room temperature with sliced baguette for spreading or dipping, and serve remaining ­Kalamata olives on the side. Serves six to eight as a meze. (Leftovers keep for up to two days in the fridge.)

Can be made: At anchor and underway
Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy