Monday, February 28, 2011

Roasted eggplant & tomato salad

"Make everything [salads] as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein

In the six months since I got back from Bulgaria, I've really gone to town on the chopped vegetable salads. As I showed you back in August, the Bulgarian salad is a pretty simple thing; there few dressings in Bulgaria, so it's oil and vinegar, maybe some lemon, or often just the vegetable juices themselves that dress the salads. Fine by me.

I ate every salad I could while there, and found that they were always different, even when they were comfortably similar. Once back, I re-enacted my trip by making and eating the most common combinations of salad vegetables. But, as summer waned and good "salad" produce was harder to find, I veered off track, forging my own trail, making substitutes when possible, until I was finally taking huge liberties with the Bulgarian salad, because... Well, because I'm American!

Throughout the past six months, I've made summer salads, fruit salads, roasted veggie salads, and combinations of all these. Almost every one has been the best salad so far! I have to admit that someone, somewhere has most assuredly made my salad combinations before, so I can't won't claim to be original.

The other night, we had these and were out of that, so it was creativity time. Tiny eggplants were roasted, without their specific usage in mind, then this salad formed from what coalesced on the kitchen counter, as ingredients were pulled from crisper, oven, and pantry.

Roasted eggplant & tomato salad


8 tiny eggplants
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 green onion
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste


Roast the eggplants in a 400° oven for 20-30 minutes. The little eggplants should be soft enough to start sinking into themselves. Set aside so that they cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes into halves, saving all the juices for the salad. Chop the green onion into tiny circles and toss with the tomatoes. When the eggplants are cool enough to touch, pull or cut the stems off.

Roughly chop the eggplants, then stir them into the tomatoes. Add the olive oil, salt to taste, and stir again.

For best results, allow the salad to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then stir again and serve.

This salad might seem small, and it is. I tend to make one or two little salads (or one and a some cooked vegetables) using the ingredients on hand to make each salad simple and unique, rather than force things into one bigger salad that's complicated and so overwhelming that the tastes get lost in the shuffle tossing.

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