“My favorite snack is potlojel. It’s a Romanian eggplant dish that my mother made when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn. I hated it then, but now I can’t get enough of it! It’s traditionally served in the middle of a salad, although I like it with an avocado. A spoonful of potlojel then a spoonful of avocado. Just like that until the avocado is gone. It’s a simple recipe if you follow it to the letter. Here’s the letter.”
One or two lemons
Two to three thick slices finely chopped onion
Three to four tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
A glass-canning jar
"You gotta use a gas stove. If you don’t have a gas stove you’re outta luck. Put the eggplant on the flame. Turn it from side to side until it’s squishy and steamy. You know it is done cooking when you can easily insert a fork."
"Next, take the eggplant to the sink and run some cool water. Carefully peel the eggplant. All the skin has to be gone and the little black specks, too."
"Slice the eggplant lengthwise. Hit it with the juice from one or two lemons. Whatever you like but the point is to keep the eggplant light. Dark eggplant is ugly and the lemon keeps it from getting that way."
"Get a big plate and put the eggplant on it. Beat it with a wooden spoon and keep smashing until it is pulverized. That’s the way my mom did it and I like to do it this way, too. You can use a blender if you’re careful only to mix only for a second or two. Put the eggplant mixture in a glass jar. Add the onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork in the jar. Cover and refrigerate."
Thank you, Carl. You're a national treasure. And your potlojel ain't bad, either.