This recipe appears in Naomi Duguid's "Burma: Rivers of Flavor" (Artisan, 2012). Crunchy and a little hot from the fine slices of raw shallot and smooth- textured from the eggplant, this salad has a nice balance of tart lime juice and aromatic shallot oil. It's one of Duguid's favorites. The salad tastes good warm, at room temperature, or cold. It's great the next day.
Before making this salad, you need to make the fried shallots and shallot oil (see separate recipe).
1 pound long Asian eggplants (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
1 tablespoon shallot oil (see separate recipe)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fried shallots (see separate recipe)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
About 1/4 cup coarsely torn coriander, finely chopped mint, or Vietnamese coriander
Preheat oven to 450 degrees or preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-hot. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place them on a baking sheet in the center of the oven, or place on the grill rack about 5 inches above the fire. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until brown and very soft. If grilling, turn the eggplants to expose all sides to the heat, until cooked through and very soft, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Once the eggplants are cool, separate the flesh from the skin and stem. You can either cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and scrape out the flesh, or cut off the stem and peel them. Put the flesh in a bowl and mash it with a fork, leaving it a little lumpy.
Add the sliced shallots, shallot oil and lime juice, and mix thoroughly. Add the fried shallots, salt and herbs and mix again. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.