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Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete

Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete is a delicious summer salad/spread that can be served on fresh bread with tomatoes and sometimes Feta cheese.

Roasted Eggplant Salad- Romanian Style - featured picture - eggplant salad in a bowl, slices of bread covered with salad and sliced tomatoes

Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete

Many European and Middle Eastern cuisines use eggplants in their recipes. From baking to roasting and grilling, the eggplants are versatile vegetables that can be cooked in many ways.

In Romania, one of the most traditional foods you can find around is this eggplant salad/spread that is made mostly in the summer and served with bread, fresh tomatoes, and Feta cheese.

I noticed that people are sometimes intimidated when it comes to cooking eggplants, so here it is an easy way to deal with them. If you like babaganoush spread, then you will love this salad as well.

Doing some research about this Romanian salad, I noticed few American blogs calling the salad “potlagel.” In the old Romanian language, eggplant was called “patlagea.”

Another word for this vegetable is “vânătă,” which is the word that is actually used in Romania in the modern language.

While I understand that the correct name got lost in the translation and was changed over time and generations, I think this needs to be corrected, as “potlagel” is not a Romanian word.

This “potlagel” name creates confusion among bloggers who are not Romanian but might be interested in writing about this recipe. It also creates an inaccurate term for a traditional dish that sits on the Romanian tables for generations.

How To Cook Eggplants?

There are different ways to cook eggplants. I used them all, and they all work. It all depends on whatever your possibilities are and the time of year.

However, each method affects the taste of the eggplant salad that you will, for sure, notice. Please take a look at the methods I use.

How to make this Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete

Step 1.

After grilling, roasting, or baking the eggplants let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Place the eggplants in a strainer and let them drain for about half an hour to one hour.

This step will remove the juice from the eggplant that is supposed to be bitter.

Roasted Eggplants draining in a red strainer

Step 2.

Chop the eggplants on a wood board with a special wooden/plastic knife made especially for this purpose (if you are Romanian and have one, of course) or with a regular knife.

Roasted Eggplant on a wooden board

This is my special plastic knife, inherited from my mom, specially designed for chopping eggplants.

A popular belief was that if you should not touch the eggplants with metal because the eggplants would oxidize, the salad will not have a pretty color.

I am not sure if this is true or not, so using a regular knife should be ok. Most knives today are stainless steel.

Roasted Eggplant and tool for chopping the vegetable

Note:

You could process the eggplants in the food processor, and the salad will then have more like a spread texture, which is delicious but not very authentic.

I prefer to chop the salad rather roughly so that I have something to chew on here and there, but the degree of chopping is totally up to you.

Serving the Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete:

The traditional way of dressing the eggplant salad, the way most Romanians always did it, was with sunflower oil,  diced onions, salt, and lemon juice or vinegar. Vinegar was used in the past, as lemons were less popular than they are today.

You can use olive oil, but the salad will not be authentic Romanian anymore.

Traditionally, olive oil was not wildly available, but sunflower oil was and still is very popular, as Romania is a big producer.

My grandmother or my mother always used sunflower oil, and this is how I like it too.

Roasted Eggplant Salad- horizontal picture- salad in the bowl

However, another way of dressing this salad would be with mayonnaise added to it. While I was growing up, the mayo was added only when we had guests, and my mother would prepare the salad for them as an appetizer.

Mashed garlic cloves are added instead of onion. We always used homemade mayonnaise, and it was our way of making the salad a little bit more festive.

However, if you don’t want to make homemade mayo, your favorite brand would be just fine.

In both cases serve the salad on fresh bread slices with tomato wedges and some feta cheese, if you like.

grilled eggplant salad on bread with tomatoes

I used green onions in my salad, but white or red onions would be fine too.

This is it, my friends! I hope you try this scrumptious recipe and let me know about your experience. Enjoy!

Here is another recipe for grilled eggplants, this time with the addition of beautifully charred peppers.

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Yield: 6-8 servings

Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete

Roasted Eggplant Salad Romanian Style 1

Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete is a delicious summer salad that can be served on fresh bread with tomatoes and sometimes Feta cheese.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 large eggplants
  • 1 small onion or 2-3 green onions chopped finely
  • 3-4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar(or to your taste)

Instructions

  1. See more detailed instructions on the blog about cooking the eggplant.
  2. If you use a fire grill:
  3. Bring the temperature of the grill between medium-low to low. (If it is too hot, the eggplants will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked. )
  4. Pierce the eggplants in few places and grill them on each side, turning them regularly until the skin is burned. Depending on their size, you should grill the eggplants somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes or until the skin is evenly charred and the eggplant collapses. The flesh should be really soft.
  5. If you use a gas stove:
  6. Lay some aluminum foil around the stovetop's burners to make sure that the liquid released by the eggplants won’t cause too much of a mess.
  7. Turn regularly with a pair of tongs, making sure that the skin is burnt on all sides.
  8. Cook until the skin is evenly charred and the flesh of the eggplants very soft.
  9. Remove them from the fire and let them rest on a tray for few minutes before you start peeling the skin off.
  10. If you use the oven:
  11. Preheat oven at 400F/200C.
  12. Place the eggplants on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil and prick the eggplants with a fork several times.
  13. Bake them for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the eggplants is very soft.
  14. Making the eggplant salad:
  15. After grilling, roasting, or baking the eggplants, let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Place the eggplants in a sieve and let drain for about half an hour to one hour. This step will remove the juice from the eggplant that is supposed to be bitter.
  16. Chop with a special wooden/plastic knife made especially for this purpose or with a regular knife.
  17. Place the eggplants in a bowl and add the sunflower oil, salt, lemon juice or vinegar, and chopped onion. Mix well.
  18. Serve on crusty fresh bread with tomatoes and Feta cheese.
  19. If you prefer it with mayo:
  20. Chop the eggplant, then add the mayo and garlic cloves crushed. Taste for salt and pepper. (See Note below)

Notes

Other ways to dress the salad:

1-2 tablespoons mayo

2-3 small garlic cloves crushed

chopped parsley

Serve the salad either way with good bread like baguette, ciabatta or artisanal bread, fresh sliced tomatoes, and Feta cheese.


Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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RD

Friday 13th of August 2021

Thanks for the background on the recipe. My mother was a Romanian Transylvanian Saxon who ended up in the U.S. later in life. This was a summer staple in our house and I've enjoyed sharing it with friends. We call it Patrangelli, which comes from the dialect spoken in her region. It was also occasionally referred to as Vinete (maybe because we have Hungarians in the family). The recipe calls for roasted eggplant (preferably on a charcoal grill), grated onion, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. I'll follow your advice and use Sunflower oil next time I make it. I did manage to find a wooden knife that I ordered from Europe. Mom said it was just like the ones they used back home, although she switched to a stainless steel chef's knife when she moved to the states (stainless to avoid the darkening from a carbon steel knife). The funny thing about Patrangelli is that although it's always tasty, it's never the same batch to batch and NEVER is as good as Mom's was.

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 15th of August 2021

Mom's food is always the best. It could be the love they put in the food, that makes the difference, right? :- ) It looks like my recipe is very close to your recipe. Also, you are right, each batch of eggplant salad is different, based on the quality of eggplants. Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to write this lovely story. I truly appreciate it.

Marian Soher

Friday 30th of July 2021

I was 5 yrs old (just before WWII - that I spent hidden in the center of France, being Jewish!) and my favorite occupation was to sit in my grandma's kitchen and "help" her, tasting the final step of her recipes to make sure they were OK. They always were of course! Whether shorba de perisoare, burequitas, kaimac, fasulia, sarmale, or whatever, it always was delicious. Yet my favorite was salate de vinete. I tried to replicate it innumerable times during this lifetime but never got my grandma's recipe taste. I am now 88 yrs old and computer savvy. And OHHH MARVEL: Your recipe IS IT!!! It is not only the right taste but also a whole bunch of wonderful memories! Thank you so much!

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 30th of July 2021

Hi Marian, I got emotional reading your note and want to thank you for sharing part of your memories and life with me. I am so happy you found the recipe! Comments like yours show that my work is valuable to many people who know and appreciate good food. Thank you again for visiting!

Christine

Saturday 17th of August 2019

I dind't know that this old word existed, it comes from the turkish patlican=eggplant (don't know how to explain how it is pronounced). Romania was part of the Osman empire.

The Bossy Kitchen

Sunday 18th of August 2019

True,however, the word potlagel doesn't exist in the Romanian language. "Patlagea", yes, potlagel no.:-)

Jonata

Monday 22nd of July 2019

I make this recipe as well. I cut the eggplant in half and spray a disposable aluminum pan with spam or any oil. I then place the eggplant cut side down in my electric oven on Broil. About 20 minutes later the eggplant is charred Smokey and soft inside I leave it in the oven on off for about 5 to 10 minutes so it’s really soft. Plus lemon salt chipped onions and I use olive oil.my mother used vegetable oil. All are delicious

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 22nd of July 2019

That sounds perfect to me! It is an awesome dish!Thank you for visiting!

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