June 18, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Salad

2 medium eggplants, cut into roughly 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced*
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
16 oz jar roasted red pepper, drained and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Place the eggplant in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Cool completely. Place in a large bowl, add remaining ingredients (no additional salt!) and stir to evenly distribute. Serve as-is or refrigerate 1 hour prior to serving to better meld the flavors.

*I used my Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher which makes tiny circular bits of garlic; perfect for this salad!

My thoughts:
It must be the very beginning of eggplant season because the eggplants around here have been lovely! I picked these two up and didn't have anything in mind for them then promptly left them in the fridge for a week. Oops! This is why I need to stop with the impulse produce purchases! Luckily they were still good when I re-discovered them but I thought I'd better make something with them quickly. Since it is once again super hot, I thought a salad was in order. I roasted the eggplant (relatively quickly and without making the kitchen too hot) transforming the eggplant into something velvety smooth and tossed it with a few other Italian-inspired ingredients. I used jarred red peppers because I actually like the texture and flavor of them better than homemade roasted bell peppers (I don't like bell peppers!) but if you have some home-roasted peppers, feel free to peel and use them. I loved it. It sort of reminded me of the marinated eggplant slices I like to get on Italian sandwiches but heartier and less oily. Perfect for serving with sandwiches, crab cakes (or crawfish cakes---recipe to come!) or even steak.

It was just as delicious the next day so it could be made it ahead of time to bring to a picnic.

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