The japanese eggplants I got in the bargain veggie bin were not in their first youth, but I am nothing if not determined to get more bang for my 99 cents a bag. I have never really cooked eggplant before, so I was looking for something simple. I also had 2 green bell peppers to use up. Spinning the roulette wheel that is Google, I found this:
Marinated Eggplant Salad
- 2 pounds Japanese eggplants, trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespons balsamic vinegar or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2-ounce bunch fresh basil, chopped
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Cut eggplants on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush slices lightly with olive oil. Grill or broil eggplant until golden brown on both sides, turning once, about 4 minutes. Cool eggplant slightly.
Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar and garlic to blend in small bowl. Layer eggplant in baking dish, seasoning eggplant with salt and pepper, drizzling with oil mixture and sprinkling with chopped basil between each layer. Let eggplant stand 1 to 2 hours at room temperature before serving.
(Courtesy of epicurious.com)
As usual I added a few tweaks: I used garlic paste instead of fresh, and I had those bell peppers, so after I broiled the eggplants, I cut up the bells into small chunks and broiled those with olive oil, too. I added them in as well as some chopped basil leaves. That I actually happened to have some fresh basil was a miracle, but I wasn’t ready to commit the whole bunch at once (Gotta get at least a COUPLE meals out of that suckah!) So I chopped up maybe 10 big leaves, tossed them all together with the marinade, and dug in. Wow. Just wow. I always forget how delicious vegetables can be. This is a perfect side dish, and I actually might try serving it with spaghetti sauce sometime. It’s substantial and could take the place of the pasta base. When I made the marinade as written, I thought it was kind of blah–I was tempted to throw in a few more glugs of wine vinegar, but I’m so glad I didn’t—as it turned out, this was totally subtle, flavorful and delish just as it was.
Surprisingly it was a little sweet—these veggies must have some natural sugars. I am continually noticing small changes since I got rid of all sugar, flour and bread from my life six months ago. One of the best is being able to notice subtle flavors I never noticed before, like the sweetness that basil adds and the flavor of a slight char from the broiler.
It’s a whole new world of yum in ADDITION to losing (as of today) 34 pounds.