aubergine salad

Jun 172016
 

Grilled Aubergine Salad with Spice Maple Dressing

 

Grilled vegetables give salads a lovely depth and heartiness and one of my favourite vegetables to grill is aubergines (eggplants). To get lovely tasty grill-lines on your aubergines, you will need to use a griddle pan, panini press or barbecue. If you don’t have any of these, fear not. Roasting your aubergine slices in a hot oven or pan-frying them in a little olive oil also works well (although you won’t get the coveted grill-lines).

 

Whether you decide to salt your aubergines before cooking them (to eliminate bitterness) or not is entirely your decision. I don’t salt aubergines before cooking them and I have never experienced the bitter flavour which people talk about. However, I do tend to buy small or medium sized aubergine, so it is possible that these don’t have as much of a problem as the larger variety.

 

This aubergine salad recipe has a nice punchy Spicy Maple Dressing, and is easy to make in advance. If refrigerated, it should be allowed to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving for the best flavour.

 

 

 

GRILLED AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT) SALAD WITH SPICY MAPLE DRESSING

(Serves 4-6 as a side dish)

 

 

Salad Ingredients:

500g / 1.1 lbs purple aubergines/eggplants, cut into half-inch (1 cm) thick discs with the peel left on

Extrta virgin olive oil to coat the eggplant slices before grilling

 

 

Dressing Ingredients: (makes 1/3 cup)

1 plump garlic clove, peeled

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled

¼ – ½ tsp cayenne powder/red chilli powder (according to taste)

4 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp coarse sea salt

Garnish with pomegranate seeds, chopped nuts or coriander leaves (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. To make the dressing in a food processor, process all the garlic and ginger until the pieces are very small. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients into the food process and process until well combined, about 15-30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Pour the dressing into a jar and set aside. If you do not have a food processor, use the fine side of a grater or microplane to finely mince your garlic and ginger. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid, shake well and set aside.
  2. Wash and dry your aubergines and cut them into ½ inch thick slices.
  3. Pour several Tbsp of EVOO into a dish (preferably with edges so that the EVOO doesn’t spill over). Dip both sides of the aubergine slices in the EVOO and set on a plate. Do this for all the aubergine slices, adding more EVOO when necessary.
  4. Grill the aubergine on medium-high heat in a griddle pan, panini press or barbecue until the aubergine has nice dark lines on it, around 4 minutes. Alternatively, you can roast them in a 200C/400F pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes or pan-fry in a little olive oil (the aubergines will taste good but you will not get grill-lines).
  5. The aubergine slices in batches and allow them to cool on a plate. You can refrigerate the grilled aubergines for upto 48 hours. If you do refrigerate the aubergines, allow them to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.
  6. To serve, arrange the aubergine slices in a nice pattern on a flat serving dish.
  7. Spoon the maple dressing on top. You may only need to use about half of the dressing. The rest can be refrigerated and used in another dish or as a marinade.
  8. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts and coriander leaves if desired.
  9. Keeps well in the refrigerator for upto 3 days.
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Jan 082015
 

 

Roasted Aubergine (Eggplant), Mozzarella and Vine Tomato Salad

 

While Christmas is a time for giving gifts to others, I have always thought of New Year’s as a time for giving a gift to yourself in the form of a New Year’s resolution. It is a promise to yourself that you will finally get around to making a change which will improve some aspect of your life. Of course, making the resolution is the easy part – it’s sticking to it beyond the first month of the year which proves harder for most of us.

 

Millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions, and ‘eating healthier’ consistently comes in as one of the most popular resolutions (along with ‘Go To The Gym’, Quit Smoking’, and ‘Spend More Time With Family And Friends.’)

 

Yet again, ‘Eating Healthier’ is one of my own New Year’s resolutions this year. Sure there are lots of things that I could do better (like improving my golf game), but I feel that as long as I am eating healthily and feeling great, everything else will take care of itself.

 

If ‘Eating Healthier’ is also one of your New Year’s resolutions, I hope my blog will be inspirational to you this year and help keep you on track. Leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to make sure you stick to your New Year’s resolution to eat more healthily this year!

 

 

Roasted Aubergine (Eggplant), Mozzarella and Vine Tomato Salad

(Serves 4 people as a side dish)

 

Ingredients:

600g / 1 lb 4 oz aubergine (eggplant), cut into 1-inch pieces

200g / 7 oz cherry tomatoes on the vine (about 16 tomatoes)

1 tsp sea salt

6-8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

125g / 4 oz fresh mozzarella ball (drained weight), roughly torn

40g / 1.5 oz pine nuts, toasted

4 Tbsp basil leaves, roughly chopped

3-4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (depending on how strong the vinegar is)

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Cut the aubergine into 1-inch pieces and place in an oven-proof dish. Toss with 1 tsp sea salt and 6-8 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (aubergine absorbs a lot of oil, so start with 6 Tbsp and increase if necessary).
  3. Roast the aubergine for 45 minutes.
  4. Place your vine tomatoes (still on the vine if possible) in a separate oven-proof dish. Lightly coat the tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Roast the tomatoes for 25 minutes.
  6. Once roasted, remove the aubergine and tomatoes from the oven. Toss the aubergine with 3-4 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar (start with 3 Tbsp and add one more if necessary – you want to be able to taste the vinegar).  Allow to come to room temperature.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Take your pine nuts and toast them on a dry pan on medium heat on the stove, tossing regularly so that they brown evenly. Once toasted, set aside.
  8. Take your mozzarella ball and roughly tear it into pieces. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  9. Roughly chop some fresh basil so that you have 4 Tbsp.
  10. To serve, toss the aubergine with most of the mozzarella, basil leaves and pine nuts together (if desired, reserve a little mozzarella, basil and pine nuts to scatter on top at the end). Spread onto a platter and place the roasted vine tomatoes on top.
  11. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
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