Now this meal could start the debate again about whether it’s really a salad, but I found this recipe in one of my Mollie Katzen cookbooks under the salad section. This being said, I of course modified the recipe and added a bunch more ingredients but the base is the same. She suggested serving her eggplant salad with crusty bread or crackers, I opted for quinoa pasta. Why? Because quinoa pasta is gluten free! So I guess this is really an eggplant pasta salad. And it’s pretty delicious!
- 1 1/2 lb Eggplant
- Olive Oil
- 1 cup minced Onion
- 2 large cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 stalk Celery, minced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
- fresh Basil, minced
- 4 medium sized ripe Tomatoes
- 2 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbs. Tomato Paste
- Capers, as many as you’d like… I like a lot!
- Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped, again as many as you’d like
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Baby Spinach
- Quinoa Pasta
- Mozzarella Cheese, sliced into small cubes
- Pecorino Romano
I forgot to take pictures during the early stages of this meal, but you know what an eggplant looks like.
1. Peel the eggplant, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes, place in a colander and generously salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Then rise thoroughly and dry. Steam the cubes (I used my bamboo steamer) 10-15 minutes until tender.
2. Meanwhile start heating up some water for your pasta. Once the water is about to boil slice a small ‘X’ in the bottom of each tomato and add to the water. After 20 seconds or so remove tomatoes and pull off their skins. Cut the tomatoes in half, and remove seeds. Roughly chop the tomato pulp.
3. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a bit of salt, and sauté for a few minutes over medium heat. Add the celery, parsley, tomatoes, and eggplant. Mix well. Next add the fresh basil, pepper, capers, kalamata olives, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes. At this point the tomatoes should be reducing. Add tomato paste and continue to simmer over low heat. Salt more if needed.
4. Pasta should be cooking by now.
5. Once pasta is cooked, drained, and rinsed add to eggplant salad along with the fresh spinach. Mix well until spinach is just wilted. Serve with mozzarella cubes and pecorino romano.
** This dish could also be served cold or at room temperature. Instant satisfaction equaled eating it warm. Of course you could also make this salad and serve it as a side dish without the pasta. I went a bit heavy on the red pepper flakes so there was definitely some kick, but nothing we couldn’t handle.