Eggplant dips are common across the world’s cultures, but Kyopolou is specific to Bulgaria. Jacques, our resident Garden Hermit, has his finger on the flavor pulse and brings us his take on Kyopolou.
Packed with charred eggplant, red bell pepper, tomato, and emulsified in olive oil, Kyopolou is vegetable caviar you’ll make every year. The dish has its origins in Turkey, and it spread to the Balkan mountains via the Ottoman Empire. It’s been adapted in so many different ways, but we think Jacques’ adaptation is the best around.
So let’s get to making some Kypolou, so you can enjoy the taste of summer caviar too!
Here’s what you need to make this recipe from Jacques’ childhood:
- 6 medium globe or Italian eggplants
- 7 red bell peppers
- 1-2 beefsteak tomatoes
- 2-4 garlic cloves (diced)
- Olive oil for emulsifying
- Parsley leaves for garnish
- Salt to taste
Here’s some of the equipment you’ll need to really make these veggies pop.
- Wood-burning grill or stovetop where charring your eggplants and peppers is possible
- A cutting board, and a good sharp knife
- A saucepan or pot that can fit all your peppers with a lid
- Food processor (optional)
- Char your eggplants and peppers on the stovetop or over a wood-burning grill. The wood smoke will add flavor to your Kyopolou. Poke holes in the eggplants with a sharp knife to prevent them from exploding.
- When the peppers are just completely blackened, place them in your saucepan or pot and cover them to steam them. This makes them easier to peel.
- Your eggplants are done when the base and the part below the stem are blackened and yield when you poke them with a finger. Leave these out of the saucepan and allow them to cool. Then peel the skin from the eggplants, and remove the remaining stem.
- Peel the skin from the eggplants, and remove the remaining stem. After a short time, the peppers should be steamed enough that you can remove their skin with your hands. Set both aside after skinning them.
- Roughly chop your eggplants and skinned peppers, or pulse them in a food processor for a short time. Make the mixture as smooth or as chunky as you like — Jacques likes it chunky!
- Mix in diced tomato, garlic, and salt to taste. Add more garlic for spiciness, and more salt where needed. Tomato provides more acidity and mild sweetness.
- Emulsify the mixture together with olive oil, stirring all the ingredients together as you pour enough to create a kind of veggie caviar!
- Top with parsley leaves, and enjoy on toast, as a side dish with your favorite meats, or all on its own as a salad. Yum!