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Turkish Eggplant and Peppers with Tomatoes and Garlicky Yogurt
Köpoğlu is a classic Turkish meze consisting of silky eggplant and tender-crisp peppers, plus tomatoes that are cooked to concentrate their sweet-tart flavors, all finished with cool, creamy, garlic-laced yogurt. There are many ways to prepare the dish; ours is modeled on the version we tasted at Giritli Restoran in Istanbul. Soaking prepped eggplant in salted acidulated water before cooking is a curious technique called for in many recipes for köpoğlu; we were pleasantly surprised by the results when we gave it a go. Soaking, we found, improves flavor by taming any bitter notes while also seasoning the eggplant throughout. Additionally, the pieces absorb some water during their soak, which in turn reduces oil absorption during cooking. Either bulbous globe eggplants or slender Asian varieties do well here, so use whichever you prefer. The meze requires easy assembly before serving: sautéed peppers and eggplant are plated, then topped with yogurt, followed by a fragrant sauce made with fresh tomatoes, garlic and paprika, finished with a sprinkle of parsley. Serve at room temperature with warm flatbread on the side for scooping and dipping.
pounds eggplant (see headnote), peeled and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
tablespoon lemon juice