My daughter Amanda decided she was going to start a mini-farm this year. Mind you, she has never grown a vegetable in all her life. I was really amazed at all the stuff she grew. Some of the squash looked like they were on steroids. Unlike the rest of my family I have never had great success growing veggies. I was in awe at the massive cucumbers, squashes, and eggplants she grew. Being more than happy to relieve her of some of the load, I gladly used the eggplants (my favorite Rosa Bianca variety) for making my grandmother’s Sicilian eggplant salad. The eggplant is roasted and marinated in a vinaigrette with tomatoes, capers, basil, oregano, and garlic. This salad pairs well with grilled or roasted meats.
ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD
(Insalata di Milinciana/Insalata di Melanzana)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Make 6 servings.
2 large eggplants (2 ½ to 3 pounds)
2 large tomatoes, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup large capers
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove and discard stem end of eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place eggplant on a large baking sheet, toss with 1/2 cup olive oil and spread out in an even layer in pan. Note: If you don’t have a large enough baking sheet, cook eggplant in 2 batches. Place oven and bake about 40 minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool 20 minutes.
Place eggplant, tomato, capers, basil, and oregano in a serving bowl. Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl. Toss dressing with eggplant mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours to allow flavors to develop.