Nap time is usually used for blogging, but today nap time will be used to plan our trip to FRANCE (exclamation points x a million), so today is short, sweet, and completely and utterly amazing. If you’re thinking it’s something carby and buttery to get me in the French spirit, it’s not. (Because, let’s be honest, I’m in the French spirit 24/7/52, non?) In fact, it’s completely the opposite: something that is typically made with bread…. but isn’t. There is no butter. It is not French.
It’s Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes, Mint, and Ricotta Salata. And it’s perfect.
Remember that slap-your-knee-fantastic side dish I said I served with my Braised Chicken with Cilantro, Mint, and Chiles? THIS IS IT! It started as a way to use a huge eggplant in my CSA, and turned into one of my favorite summer side dishes ever. You can love it because it’s low-carb, you can love it because it resembles classic bruschetta topping using completely different flavors (mint!!!), you can love it because you, too, believe that grilled eggplant bathed in olive oil is food from the gods, you can love it because everyone else is hunkering down for pumpkin season but you’re not ready to let go of summer goodies just yet, or you can love it just because it’s uncomplicated perfection. Like consuming carby, butter-slathered baguette Seine-side… aka what I will be doing for a week. OUI!!!
- 1 large eggplant, cut in ¾- to 1-inch slices
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ c crumbled ricotta salata
- ⅓ cup finely diced red onion or shallot (about ¼ onion or ½ shallot)
- 3 seeded, diced medium tomatoes (1½ cups)
- 3 T minced fresh mint leaves
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- Preheat grill to high. Brush eggplant slices with about 3 T olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant slices until slightly charred and tender when pierced with knife, about 5 to 7 minutes per side.
- [Alternatively, roast oiled and seasoned eggplant slices in a 425-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes on one side and 10-12 minutes on the other- or until each side is kind of blistery and dark.]
- Meanwhile, mix your ricotta salata, onion, tomatoes, mint, vinegar and 4 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- When the eggplant discs are done, arrange them on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately.