Padlizsánkrém, a.k.a. Hungarian eggplant spread.
This stuff is delicious! For me, it conjures up all kinds of nostalgic feelings, as my Hungarian adopted grandma made this all the time. It always felt very "grownup" to eat it, and I've loved it ever since.
Every Hungarian housewife has their own version of the stuff, and there are even differences between regions. The three ingredients everyone agrees on are eggplant onion and salt. I searched the internet, asked my mom, and then Dan and I came up with a hard-to-beat recipe.
Dan recently found a local farm that delivers fresh produce. We were eager to try it and see what our first crate comprised of. We were excited to see three eggplants - one most-commonly-known purple one, one white one, and one gorgeous fairytale one.
I mean, look at that!!!
Anyway, we decided to attempt our very first batch of padlizsánkrém/Hungarian eggplant spread. It turned out perfectly, so I'd love to share the recipe with you!
1 small red onion
salt to taste (we used 4 pinches)
pepper to taste (about 1 tsp)
1 tsp smoked paprika (because Dan doesn't think a Hungarian dish can be made without it)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I read one recipe that used sour cream, but I think I've always had it with mayo. I'd love to hear how it turns out using sour cream if you try it!)
3-4 tsp lemon juice
1. Grill eggplants until all the skin is black and blistery. (If you don't have a grill, you can bake them at 180 C/350 F for 45-50 minutes.) We really liked the grilled, smokey flavor that doing it this way gave.
2. Place eggplants in a plastic bag and allow to sweat for 10-15 minutes.
3. Peel off the black "crusted" outside (careful, they're hot!), cut off the prickly green stem and leaves, but keep everything else - seeds and all. (Fair warning, it's a pretty weird texture.)
4. Use a blending wand or food processor to blend it up to the desired consistency. You can leave it chunky for a more "rustic" feel, or make it as creamy as you'd like.
5. Finely mince (or blend up in a food processor) the onion.
6. Add onion, seasonings, mayonnaise and lemon juice to the eggplant. Taste, and see if it needs anything else. (Some recipes called for garlic, but honestly, I think it would take away from the eggplant's flavor.)
7. Place in a container, and chill for a few hours.
8. Serve with bread/toast, bagel bites, tortilla chips, etc.
- This amount filled this large jam-type jar, plus another baby food sized jar that we gave to our neighbors.
- Should keep in the fridge for about 5 days.
- Use as a dip at a party (like you would hummus or a spinach artichoke dip), or a spread on an open-faced sandwich.
- Although I did not try it, my mom said that if you make a bigger batch, you can freeze the eggplant, and then add all the other stuff to it when you're ready to eat/serve it.
- This spread is vegetarian, but you could easily make it vegan by using vegenaise instead of mayonnaise.
We added our delicious padlizsánkrém/eggplant spread to that evening's "European" style dinner. We cut up some yummy crusty bread, put out different cold cuts and lunch meats, cheeses, nuts, veggies, and fruit. Our son loves getting to "make his own sandwich", and we love all the delicious options!
Soooo scrumptious! It's a perfect way to celebrate eggplants and those couple weeks between summer and fall.