Eggplant Salad

eggplant.jpgQuite an unusual salad but will be a delicious hit at a party or your dinner table. Adjust your time, as this needs a room temperature sit for a few hours – but oh so worth the wait! I served this alongside egg noodles, with a good, fresh loaf of Italian or French bread.

2 Eggplants – medium sized, peeled & cut into small chunks
Kosher salt or coarse (sea) salt
2 celery stalks – diced
Olive oil, extra virgin is best
2 onions – peeled & sliced
4 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup good quality marinated black olives, drained & chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained & chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Place prepared eggplants in a colander in the sink, sprinkle kosher or sea salt on and let sit for 1 hour to weep. Lightly rinse and pat dry; set aside.

Meanwhile, add 3/4 cup water to a small pot, bring to a boil then add the chopped celery and boil for 5 minutes; drain and save both the celery and the water. Set aside.

Heat about 1/2 cup olive oil in large pan and in 2 batches fry the eggplant chunks for 15 minutes each batch; drain on cookie sheets lined with brown paper or paper towels. Add the onions to the olive oil and cook for 10 minutes; add the paste, celery water, olives, capers, sugar and vinegar then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and the celery and simmer for 10 minutes.

Empty ingredients onto a large platter or a large shallow-type dish and leave at room temp for at few hours. You can cover this as best you can with a big pot lid or something comparable.

Serve over/alongside egg noodles.

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