My husband loathes eggplant. I’ve tried a variety of recipes in the hopes that one day he’ll fall in love with this vegetable like I have, but to no avail. I things it’s really a textural thing. Anyhow, that hasn’t stopped me from trying out even more recipes with this ingredient.
This recipe is like eggplant bruschetta, topped with a Mediterranean summer salsa of a salad. It’s totally addictive and not-so-heavy.
1 to 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium), in 3/4- to 1-inch slices
2 ounces (1/2 cup) chopped or crumbled ricotta salata
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
3 seeded, diced medium tomatoes (1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Arrange eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Once flipped, sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops.
Meanwhile, mix your ricotta, capers, onion, tomatoes, mint, vinegar and remaining 4 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning; ricotta salata tends to be quite salty so I don’t find that this dish needs more than a pinch of salt, if that. Add more vinegar, if desired. Add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
When the eggplant discs are done, arrange them on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately.