A twist on the French classic, this versatile ratatouille salad can be served hot or cold. If you have any leftovers or want to use this salad in a new way, try sauteing it for a few minutes in a bit of the vinegar-oil mixture and serve over a dollop of ricotta cheese with a fried egg and crusty bread.
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 large Japanese eggplants
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups diced tomato
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- Black pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- Preheat grill to medium. Slice eggplant in half, lengthwise. Brush both sides of the eggplant with balsamic vinegar, then with olive oil. Set remaining vinegar and oil aside
- Place eggplant cut side down on the grill (4 to 6 inches above medium coals if using charcoal). Cook, turning once, 4-5 minutes on each side.
- While the eggplant is cooking, combine tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl with the reserved vinegar and oil. Set aside.
- Remove the eggplant from the grill and cool for a few minutes. Slice each half into bite-sized pieces, then add to the tomato mixture. Mix in the basil and add additional salt (if needed) and black pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Serve alone, over warm polenta, or atop fresh lettuce.
Featured Ingredient: Japanese Eggplant
Eggplant’s versatility in the kitchen makes it an excellent ingredient on which to build many delicious dishes. Japanese eggplant is long and slender, with a thin skin that’s easily edible when cooked. With a mild flavor, it’s excellent grilled with spices, roasted with other summer vegetables, or added to hummus (a great calorie-cutting trick). Pureed eggplant can also be added to sauces, creating a delectable creaminess without adding dairy. It’s mild enough to serve a supporting role in a dish, but unique enough to stand on its own. You won’t regret adding this gem to your garden! Here’s what you need to know about growing eggplant.