Given that eggplant is one of my favorite foods, it really was about time for me to create my first ‘ode to eggplant’ post! The versatility of eggplant is why I love it so much- it easily soaks up the flavors of a unique dish. It is no wonder that eggplant has managed to become a staple dish in such a wide variety of ethnic cuisines.
With the summer solstice marking the beginning of the season this past weekend, it was quite perfect that I happened to prepare this quintessential summer salad for a festive gathering of friends.
A well-known trick to avoid that bitter eggplant taste is to salt the slices well before cooking them. I lay out the slices on a large baking sheet and then sprinkle them with coarse sea salt along with a splash of lemon juice before popping them into the oven.
These roasted cherry tomatoes are SO amazingly tasty and simple to make that I could create a separate post dedicated entirely to them! My roommate and I have gotten into the habit of roasting up a whole bunch of them for the week to add to anything from salads to open-faced sandwiches.
I found this salad on Epicurious.com as an excerpted recipe from Modern Flavors of Arabia: Recipes and Memories from My Middle Eastern Kitchen. The original recipe didn’t call for the roasted tomatoes and the pomegranate dressing was a bit too sweet for me. With a few simple tweaks, I was able to arrive at a version of this salad to my exact liking.
Prep Time: 30 mins
2 eggplants, medium
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, roasted
1/2 cup, fresh pomegranate seeds
6 oz, fresh arugula leaves (about 5 handfuls)
1 clove, garlic
1/4 cup, balsamic vinegar
1/5 cup, honey
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 tbsp, Dijon mustard
1/5 cup, pomegranate molasses (available at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup, peanut and olive oil, combined
Sea salt and pepper
Half the eggplants, then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet, coat both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. Cook in the oven at 400F for approximately 15-20 minutes until golden.
To roast the tomatoes, simply place them whole on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and flavor with sea salt, black pepper, and red chili pepper flakes (optional). Pop in the oven at 400F and let cook for 15 minutes.
To prepare the dressing, in a small mixing bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, pomegranate molasses, and olive/ peanut oil combination. Whisk together well.
In a large serving bowl, add the arugula, roasted tomatoes, red onion, and eggplant slices. Toss to combine.
Drizzle with dressing before garnishing with fresh pomegranate seeds to finish.