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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Salads

Roasted Eggplant Salad
Last time I checked, summer was still here and by all standards August is still a summer month, yet why do I feel as though my thoughts are turning toward fall and winter?  Canning, knitting, baking, nesting?  Can it be that I am hearing about our friend's children going back to school?  Our my own son, who is a sophmore in college, starts back after Labor Day?  Or Labor Day itself?  Any way I look at it, I have been rushed through summer.  However, I am determined to make delicious dishes from the most lovely vegetables available in this warm weather season.   See recipes below.

A few reminders that summer is still here are the beautiful Japanese eggplant I picked up at the farmer's market last night.  Perfectly shaped, no blemishes, firm and long, it didn't take me long to figure out what I was going to make with it.  I tasted this salad for the first time back in June from a cooking class I took with Annie Somerville.  Even if you have never cooked with eggplant before, I highly recommend trying this recipe.  It's a wonderful side salad for a BBQ and would go well with chicken, meats or fish.  It has a salty, zesty and garlicky flavor that I just love.  I had to stop myself from eating it all.  

Farro Salad with Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers with Arugula

Another salad that I love, hot or cold, is Farro.  This is even easier than the eggplant salad and so versatile.  You can substitute or add, cherry tomatoes, chopped caramelized onions, or change the arugula for spinach, but its great just as it is.   Try either of these summer salad recipes the next time you are entertaining.  

Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts and Capers
Serves 4-6

2 pounds Japanese eggplant
3 TBS olive oil
1/2 TBS finely chopped garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 finely chopped red onion
red wine vinegar
2 TBS capers
2 TBS pine nuts
20 large basil leaves, finely chopped
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 374 degrees
Toss the eggplant in a large bowl with the oil, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few pinches of pepper.  Lay the round slices in a single layer on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes more.  When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, slice it into 1/4 inch thick diagonal strips.  

Bring a small pot of water to boil and drop in the onions for 20 seconds.  Drain and toss with 1 TBS red wine vinegar.

Combine the eggplant, capers, pine nuts, basil and onions in a large bowl.  Toss gently with the balsamic  vinegar and set aside for 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar, if needed.  If the salad is tart, add a pinch or two of sugar.

From Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville

Farro Salad with Roasted Peppers and Arugula
This is a light, delicious and versatile dish that can be changed for the season.  In summer, try cherry tomatoes and peppers and in the fall or winter, try delicata squash with crisp sage leaves.  
Serves 4

1 cup Farro
Red wine vinaigrette
1 each, red and yellow peppers; roasted, peeled and diced
A generous handful of arugula
salt and pepper

Place the farro in a large pot of lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the grains are tender.

Make the vinaigrette: 
3 TBS red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Whisk everything together but the oil.  Slowly pour the oil in, whisking until emulsified.

Toss the farro, peppers, and vinaigrette together and let cool.  Add the Arugula when you are about to serve.

From Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville


Cook with Madin said...

Lovely salads. I can't stop staring at them. I just bought some eggplants from the market. Great timing. Thank you for sharing.

Jen Cheung said...

both salad looks really colorful :) no wonder its call summer salads !!

Have a lovely day!!
Jen @

Tricia O'Brien said...

I have to say that I am a fair weather eggplant lover, however, when I tasted this salad....I fell madly in love with it! I think part of it, is the delectable Italian or Japanese varietals of eggplant. They are long, firm and don't have to be sitting in a salt bath and then rinsed. They are ready to go! Bon Appetite! Enjoy!

Spoon and Chopsticks said...

Wonderful... I've never heard of eggplant salad... I don't know much about Japanese eggplants. It was a great read.