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Buffet Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

The eggplant buffet is like a sponge. Salting it draws out moisture and firms up the flesh, and deep-frying ensures it chefs calmly till creamy throughout. Worth your time.

Buffet Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

Buffet Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

INGREDIENTS

    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
    • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 2 small green chiles, such as Thai, seeds removed, chopped, divided
    • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
    • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
    • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
    • 1 pound small tomatoes (about 8), cut into wedges
    • 1/2 pound Persian cucumbers (about 3), sliced
  1. Special equipment:
    • A deep-fry thermometer

PREPARATION

    1. Purée cilantro, parsley, garlic, half of the chiles, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor until very smooth; season herb oil with salt and set aside.
    2. Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and set yogurt sauce aside.
    3. Place eggplants in a colander set in the sink; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes to drain, then pat dry.
    4. Fit a medium pot with a thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 2″. Heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 375°.
    5. Working in batches and returning oil to 375° between batches, fry eggplants, turning often, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplants to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool.
    6. Combine eggplants in a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers, and remaining chives; drizzle with some reserved herb oil and toss to combine. Season salad with salt.
    7. Spoon reserved yogurt sauce onto a platter, top with salad, and drizzle with more herb oil.
    8. Do ahead: Herb oil and yogurt sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.

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