Smoky Eggplant, Capsicum and Mint Mezze
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.
- 1 eggplant whole
- 2 red capsicum/bell peppers 2 small or 1 large
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted and crushed
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves 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.
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.