July 06, 2016

Roasted Eggplant, Fava Bean and Feta Salad

1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 small sweet onions*, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh, shelled fava beans
1 cup mixed olive-cured spicy olives**, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup cubed feta
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the eggplant and onion with some olive oil, (light) salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, boil the fava beans for 2 minutes in a small pot. Drain. Cool. Place in a medium bowl. Add garlic, olives, feta and the cooled onion and eggplant. Toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours to meld the flavors.

*I used sweet candy onions
**I buy mine by the pound at my local Italian store but they should be available at any olive bar. They have loads of red pepper flakes so they are pretty spicy!

My thoughts:
I'd never encountered fresh fava beans until just recently when they made an appearance in my weekly produce box. I was surprised at how thick and almost velvety the pods were. Who knew? The yield wasn't huge (possible because I waited a while to shell them) but it was enough to make this vaguely Greek, Mediterranean-eque salad. When you are making it, it looks like you are going to have 10x the eggplant as everything else but remember, it cooks down quite a bit and the final fava to eggplant ratio is quite good. I also used some spicy olives I had leftover from my pan-European snackies dinner that turned out to be an inspired choice, they flavored the whole dish with virtually no effort on my part. I like spicy olives but they can be a bit much on their own, however, they are perfect in salads like this what help keep them from overpowering everything. And the feta? Well, who doesn't like cheese? I cut mine up from a big brick but feel free to use pre-cubed. I think the salad is the absolute best the first day but it is still pretty good 2-3 days later if you have leftovers. Just make sure to refrigerate them in a nonreactive container.

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