Various eggplant salads are a very common side dish around here. There are plenty of store-bought varieties, but I prefer to make my own. We tried many recipes until we found one which is in our opinion a winner.
Take 2 large eggplants, pop in the oven and bake until very soft and tender. This is really important. An eggplant which is under-baked is difficult to mash and has unpleasant structure. You may want to puncture them with a fork in several places prior to baking, to prevent splitting of the skin. Baking time varies according to your oven and the thickness of the eggplant. I bake mine approximately one hour at medium heat (I turn them once in the middle of the process so they will be baked more evenly). Once eggplants are ready, their skin should be crispy and slightly charred and fork should come effortlessly through them. They also lose quite a lot of their volume.
While your eggplants are in the oven, take:
1 large onion or 2 small ones, and
1 large bell pepper or 2 small ones, and sautee them in a large pan.
When onions and peppers are nearly ready, add:
3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
3-4 tablespoonfuls of tomato paste or tomato sauce
Salt, pepper, lemon juice, other spices to taste.
When your eggplants are ready, place them in a bowl and let cool. Then peel the skin - skin should come off easily if the eggplant is properly baked - and mash with a fork. Mashing, too, should be easy if your eggplants spent enough time in the oven.
Then add onion and peppers mix to the mashed eggplants, and voila – your eggplant salad is ready. From my experience, it easily keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.