Monday, 24 June 2013

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas
Why this recipe works: we like to think of this grilled eggplant salad with notes of lemon and tahini as a deconstructed baba ghanoush a seasoned Middle Eastern eggplant puree often used as a spread or dip for flatbread. In our version, we cut the eggplants into planks, grill them until they’re well browned and tender, cut them down some more, then toss them with a dressing comprised of lemon juice, tahini, and soy sauce. We use the same dressing on the greens and the chickpeas before they’re added, which gives a unified flavor to the salad; we toss each ingredient separately, however, to ensure proper coating and seasoning. By tossing the chickpeas in the vinaigrette first, we allow them time to absorb some of the flavor as the eggplant cooks and the salad is assembled. It may seem as if the eggplant is not cooked enough when you take it off the grill, but even off the heat, the eggplant will continue to soften and be completely tender by the time you’re done assembling the salad.

Grilled eggplant salad with chickpeas and lemon tahini dressing
Ingredients: serve 4
2 tablespoons tahini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
   Salt and pepper
1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each), trimmed and cut length wise into 1 inch
1 (5 ounce) bag baby spinach

  1. Whisk tahini, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, garlic, and soy sauce together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/3 of vinaigrette to medium bowl and toss with chickpeas.
  2. Brush both side of eggplant planks with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant planks over hot fire until well browned and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and cut in half lengthwise. Transfer to large bowl and toss with half remaining dressing.
  3. toss spinach with remaining dressing and season with salt and pepper. Arrange eggplant spears on serving platter and top with spinach and chickpeas. Serve.

Smart shopping eggplant
Of the four eggplant varieties commonly found in supermarkets, the globe eggplant is the most versatile. Globe eggplants contain fewer seeds than their sister varieties, and their firm flesh retains its shape after cooking, making them an ideal choice for most cooking applications. Italian choice for most cooking applications. Italian eggplants are mildly spicy with lots of seeds; they’re best sautéed or stewed. Sweet and dry Chinese eggplants are great in stir fries, and thai eggplants, with their bright, grassy flavor and hints of spice, taste good enough to eat raw.

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