Chopped (Eggless) Eggplant

    Chopped Eggplant with Watercress
Like chopped liver, chopped eggplant can be served as an appetizer on greens, but it also makes a great sandwich -- espeically on rye bread with sliced tomato. It's also a great first course (served on lettuce) for a Passover seder.

  • My mother made this recipe with 2-3 hard-cooked eggs. (I don't say hard-boiled because boiling results in rubbery whites and green yolks. See this link for a better method.) Over the years, I've used less eggs and now I rarely use any eggs in this recipe. The color, texture, and body are a bit different but still wonderful.
  • Pepper is optional since the eggplant already has its own peppery flavor.
  • Times have changed. My grandmother chopped by hand. My mom used her meat grinder. I use a food processor. The texture of hand-chopped would be quite nice, but the time and effort to make this dish would change considerably.
  • The lemon is optional. Mostly, I use it to keep the eggplant from turning color. Chances are that my grandmother did not have easy access to lemons. I wonder if she made this recipe when she lived in Russia.
  • Sometimes I add cumin and/or coriander, which would make it not my mother's chopped eggplant, for sure! For the most flavor, add them to the onions while they cook.
1 medium to large eggplant
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion cut in eighths
1 lemon wedge (optional)
pepper (optional)
ground cumin (optional)
coriander (optional)
  • Wash the eggplant. Pierce with fork tines in four or more places.
  • Roast at 350° on a jelly roll pan (in case the eggplant weeps) for about 50 minutes. When you squeeze the eggplant (wearing a hot mitt) it should give easily. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Slightly Carmelized Onions
  • While the eggplant is roasting, slowly sweat the onion in the olive oil over a low flame in a covered pan. You can add a dash of cumin and/or cumin (optional). Once the onions are very soft, remove the cover and continue cooking on a low flame until they are slightly carmelized. (See picture.) Remove from heat and cool.
  • Peel the skin off the eggplant and place the flesh in your food processor. Whirl a few times. Add a squeeze of lemon. Whirl again.
  • Add the onion. Whirl again.
  • Turn into a serving dish. Add salt to taste. Add pepper if you wish.
  • Chill before serving.

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