Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Salad of Eggplant Two Ways

I'm going to to provide you with an outline for creating this salad as opposed to an actual recipe. This salad is made up of roasted and raw eggplant seasoned to your taste.

Try an Italian version with basil, tomatoes, and diced mozzarella. Or go Thai-style with lime, fish sauce, cilantro, mint and chilies. How about Indian, with lemon, cilantro, chilies, and toasted mustard and cumin seeds? There are so many ways to try this. Just remember that there will be a slight bitterness from the raw eggplant that you'll need to counteract with the flavors you use (acid and/or sugar).

This salad was inspired by an appetizer we had at B&G Oysters in Boston's South End. It was a salad of roasted and raw(!) eggplant topped with a lemony vinaigrette, oh and a huge seared scallop. I was shocked by how good the raw eggplant was in the salad and decided to try it at home.

Proportion-wise, you'll want about 75% of the eggplant to be roasted slices. The remainder is very thinly sliced raw eggplant. Use very small, firm, fresh eggplants - especially for the raw slices. Toss the eggplant with seasonings and dressing to taste. If your dressing is sufficiently acidic the raw eggplant won't discolor much at all.

Give this dish a try while you can still get fresh local eggplant.

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