Thursday, August 4, 2011

Italian Eggplant Salad

Part III of "What to do with my CSA box?"

I've found that eggplant is one of those vegetables that can be either outstanding or lackluster, depending on its preparation (and especially how long it's cooked).

As I wrote about before, my favorite eggplant dish (and the only eggplant dish I was familiar with) growing up, with my Mama's Eggplant Ikra, which blended eggplant up into a creamy spread with tomatoes, sauteed onions, and other goodies.

So, when I saw a beautiful, shiny purple eggplant in the CSA box this week, I wanted to do something similar, but Italian-style, so that I could make use of the rich harvest of basil in our garden these days.


Because the Enchanted Broccoli Forest had been such a win when it came to the Pickled Potato Salad, I once again turned to Mollie Katzen's wisdom to see what she had to offer.

And what did I find, but an Italian Eggplant Salad!

I made a few modifications, but mostly stuck with her guidelines, which produced a rich, delicious vegetable combo, which was good at room temperature as a salad, but which I think would also be good hot over pasta, or as a sandwich spread, or in so many other ways! Let me know what you end up doing with it...

Italian Eggplant Salad

1 medium eggplant
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 pint home-canned tomatoes, with juice
2-3 Tbsp ketchup (or tomato paste)
4 Tbsp minced fresh basil (or 4 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper

  1. If your eggplant is fresh and the skin is still taut, don't peel it! Cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, and saute these in a little bit of oil in a medium pan until they start to soften and collapse, adding a little water if needed to keep things moist and to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, in another pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and tomatoes, and saute for another five minutes. Chop the tomatoes up roughly with your spatula. (Mollie Katzen uses 3 fresh tomatoes where I used jarred.  If you do this, she recommends coring, peeling, and seeding the tomatoes before adding them--but I can't imagine that this extra step would make that much of a difference, would it?)
  3. Once eggplant is soft, add it to the onions and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Add seasonings to taste. 
  4. Eat!

3 comments:

  1. Hey Anna, thanks for this and for your version of the potato salad. Nice to see your blog! Keep on, Mollie

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  2. Yum! Funny coincidence, I made a dish tonight using eggplant from our garden and Mollie's original Moosewood cookbook; the Eggplant-Almond Enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce. I think her cookbooks are great for using garden/farmer's market/CSA fresh veggies. How cool that she commented!

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  3. Mollie Katzen *is* great for her vegetable dishes! Andrea, have you seen her "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without" book? It's really inspiring. And I don't know if it was actually Mollie Katzen herself who commented on this post, but if so, Mollie, please know how honored and excited I am to have had you drop by, and how much I admire your work in cookbooks and beyond!

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