When the invitation says the party is a potluck, it’s time to pull out your favorite crowd pleasing dishes. Joe is most likely to bring his delicious baby back ribs or his mouth-watering prime rib roast. Sometimes both! As for me, I’m the designated salad queen. My end of summer salads usually include juicy ripe tomatoes and salad greens. Not this year, an exceptionally rainy and hot summer brought an early end to the tomatoes. Joe usually plants a nice variety of lettuces and greens at the end of August, for the same reason that didn’t happen either.
Not giving up on making a salad, I chose a vegetable that we did have in abundance, eggplant. Joe grows a wide variety; every color, from pure white to dark purple, globeÂ shaped, plump Italian, long slender Asian varieties. The salad can be made with any variety of eggplant. Peel the eggplant, leaving strips of skin and cut into 1″ cubes and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle eggplant lightly with kosher salt, this helps bring out excess moisture.
Set the eggplant aside while you make the vinaigrette. Whisk together oil and vinegar, honey, smoked paprika and cumin. Blot the water off the eggplant and toss with the vinaigrette.
If you don’t already have it, smoked paprika is a great addition to your spice rackÂ Smoked paprika can be made with either sweet or hot peppers that are driedÂ and smoked over an oak fire. When purchasing smoked paprika, if the label doesn’t specifically say it’s hot, it is sweet, with a deep rich smoky flavor. Cumin is one my favorite spices, it adds a warm, nutty flavor and aroma to this dish.
Preheat oven to 375Â°F with the rack in the middle position Spread the eggplant cubes evenly over a large parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until eggplant is softened andÂ browned. Every fifteen minutes stir the cubes during the baking process to ensure even browning. The entire cooking process takes about 35-40 minutes.
While you are waiting for the eggplant to cook, whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce. Return the cooked eggplant to the large bowl and toss with the soy-lemon mixture. Stir in chopped parsley, nuts and most of the crumbled goat cheese. Top salad with remaining cheese and chopped scallions.
Late summer harvest of eggplants.
Roasted Eggplant Salad
- 2 lbs eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 1/3c olive oil
- 2T apple cider vinegar
- 1T honey
- 1T smoked paprika
- Â½t cumin
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 c roughly chopped parsley
- Â½ c roughly chopped smoked almonds
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbled
- Â¼ c finely chopped scallions
- Preheat oven to 375Â°Â Cut the eggplant into 1″cubes and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, smoked paprika and cumin. Blot excess liquid from the eggplant, toss with the vinaigrette. Stir in the chopped garlic.
- Spread the eggplant out on a large parchment lined baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven. Roast until softened and lightly browned, stirring every 15 minutes, eggplant should be done in 35-40 minutes.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce. Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.Â Stir in the parsley, almonds and most of the goat cheese, reserving a little.
- Place the finished salad in a serving bowl and sprinkle scallions and reserved goat cheese on top