This salad is simple and tasty. I like to use the long skinny eggplants so that I have little rounds, or I cut them in half for half-moon shapes. If you use a large eggplant, slice it into 1/4-inch thick slices and then into large bite-sized pieces. If tomatoes are not in season, use good-quality canned tomatoes instead. Marjoram or oregano can be used in place of the basil. A roasted red bell pepper is tasty here and sometimes I add Kalamata olives instead of capers. Serve as a small tapas salad with bread or garlic toast.
Serves 6 to 8
3 Italian or Japanese (long skinny) eggplants or 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, and then into large bite-sized pieces tossed with 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 large ripe tomato or 2 medium, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons capers
About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup basil leaves cut into chiffonade
Preheat oven to 350º F. Toss the eggplant slices with the olive oil on a baking sheet, spread the eggplant out in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender and cooked, but not too soft.
Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and add the onion, tomato, garlic and capers. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the vinegar and sugar, season well with salt and pepper and blend well with a fork. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Add the basil and toss well, then taste for seasoning; adjust with salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar. The salad can be served immediately or held at cool room temperature for about an hour. Once refrigerated, allow to come to cool room temperature before serving.
© Susan Belsinger