The word mezze means “taste” or “snack” in Turkish, and is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers before a main dish. Serve this smoky eggplant, capsicum and mint mezze as part of a platter with some cheese, olives, hummus, and fresh bread.
Barbecuing the eggplant and capsicum or charring them over a naked flame gives a nice smoky flavour which tastes great in this mezze, but you can cook them in the oven too.
- eggplant 1 whole
- red capsicum (bell peppers) 2 small or 1 large
- cumin seeds 1 teaspoon, toasted and crushed
- smoked paprika ½ teaspoon
- lemon juice of 1
- extra-virgin olive oil 1-2 tablespoons
- mint leaves 2 tablespoons chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- Prick eggplant all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Barbeque whole eggplant and capsicums for about 10-15 minutes on each side, or until skin is charred, blackened and the eggplant flesh is very soft inside. You can also char them over a naked flame, turning them occasionally with metal tongs, until their skins are blackened and blistered. Alternatively you can cook the eggplant and capsicums (whole) in a 220degC/430 Fahrenheit oven for about 40-45 minutes until they are soft and their skins are charred and blistered. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Peel skins off capsicums – they should come off easily. Remove seeds and dice soft flesh. Cut eggplant in half lengthways and scoop out soft flesh with a spoon and roughly chop.
- Place eggplant and capsicum flesh in a mortar and pestle with cumin and smoked paprika and roughly mash with the pestle to combine – don’t over-crush though, it’s nice to have a bit of texture. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just mixed diced/chopped flesh in a bowl. Mix in lemon juice, mint and extra virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.