Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tri-Colore Eggplant Salad With Buffalo Mozzarella

ri-Colore Eggplant Salad With Buffalo Mozzarella from ottolenghi plenty recipe

This is a healthy, rustic salad for eggplant and caper fans.  Roasted eggplant gets dressed with a briny, crunchy Italian "salsa" of yellow bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and capers; a layer of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese; and an unorthodox smattering of cilantro.  I had to sit on my hands to resist the temptation to substitute basil for cilantro. But as the chef who created this recipe so aptly promises - cilantro fits perfectly in this Italian-inspired dish. Of course basil would be delicious too.

There are so many flavor and texture components in this versatile salad and they all compliment each other so well. Think of this colorful salad as one to serve as a side dish or a vegetarian entree for a weeknight dinner or a key component to a casual weekend dinner party filled with unique dishes.  

{As an aside, I am disappearing this week and next to take care of some personal matters but I do have some recipes from the past week in the queue ready to share.  Please do check back for new inspirations during this time.}

Cheers.

Tri-Colore Eggplant Salad With Buffalo Mozzarella

1 large eggplant
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T + 1/2 T capers {*}
5 oz buffalo mozzarella, sliced or chopped
fresh cilantro leaves, to taste {recipe calls for 1 c}

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and then slice widthwise into 3/4" thick slices. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until soft and golden brown. Allow to cool.

Mix together the yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, capers {and caper brine if you choose to use} and 2 T of olive oil. Set aside in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days to let the flavors deepen. 

To serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a platter and spoon salsa on top. Arrange mozzarella on top and finish with cilantro leaves.

{*} the original recipe also calls for 1 T of caper brine, but I didn't have any and I didn't miss it.

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Source: Adapted from Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi

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