Family. It's Monday.
I'm kind of OK with that because I slept well-ish (the ish is like....I slept well considering that I'm a raging insomniac?), did yoga this morning, and am PLOWING through this day.
Plowing, I tell you. It's great.
So, in the interest of making sh*t happen and taking care of ourselves, I'd like to present to you this new recipe that is super healthy yet delicious.
We're talking about a total farm-fresh salad that has most of the components of a traditional ratatouille but that is REALLY fast to make, not heavy in the slightest, and doesn't cook the vegetables to death so you REALLY taste them, which is awesome at this time of year when raw stuff actually tastes good.
In related news, my mom and I joined a CSA! We get our first basket of food on Thursday and I CAN'T FREAKIN WAIT. That's all I know so far.
For this lovely simple salad/side dish, you need eggplant, tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, parmesan cheese (the good stuff if you can swing it), and olive oil. Seriously easy and DELICIOUS stuff when all paired together, dontcha think?
For prep, we need to wash the veggies and cut them up. Start by dicing the tomatoes - ½ inch or slightly larger - we want chunks here.
For the eggplant, leave the skin on unless you have massive eggplant and you worry about the skin being tough. Don't waste it, though, it's good for you! Cut the tops off the eggplant and cut each into planks, about the same thickness as you cut the tomatoes.
Then, cut the plans into strips, and dice the strips. Look at all the eggplant!
The garlic chips add huge flavor to this dish, so let's make them first. Add lots of olive oil to a skillet, and turn the skillet to medium heat.
Then, lightly mash the garlic with your fist or the side of a knife, so that it loosens the skins. Peel the garlic.
Now, the chips! We want to REALLY thinly slice the garlic. Take your time - it's worth it in the end!
When the garlic is all sliced up, add it to the oil for 3 - 5 minutes until the garlic turns slightly brown and is fragrant. The time will depend on how hot your oil is, but we really don't want to get into dark brown garlic territory - the garlic can turn bitter pretty quickly.
When the garlic is just golden, remove it from the pan with a spoon.
Add the garlic and tomatoes to a large bowl with a sprinkle of salt, and turn up the heat on the now-garlic-flavored oil - medium-high should do it.
Add the eggplant to the oil in one layer - we're not looking to soften the eggplant all the way, just to sear the outsides. I had to do this in 2 batches - cook the eggplant in as many batches as you need to let it sear on all sides.
Sprinkle the eggplant with salt, and flip it around after about 2 minutes to brown on the other sides. When the eggplant is mostly brown, add it to the bowl with the tomatoes and garlic, then cook the rest of it if needed.
Now, we're just going to tear the basil into the bowl, and look how pretty all the ingredients are!
That's it! The final step for this recipe is to add some extra basil on top if you'd like, and sprinkle all over with the parmesan. Because the rest of this dish is so light, I like using nicer parm and just a little bit of it - you get great flavor without a lot of extra added fat or calories. I like to use a vegetable peeler to get big pieces of cheese, but you can use a grater or just chop it up - your choice.
Of course, it goes without saying that you can omit the cheese for a great vegan dish - this one's a winner either way.
Enjoy this! It's got great flavor without the hassle of stewing ratatouille for hours, and it REALLY highlights the eggplant and any tomatoes you have left this season.
Ratatouille Salad with Garlic Chips
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- 5 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 small-medium eggplant (6 inches long or so), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 large tomatoes, cut into cubes slightly smaller than the eggplant
- ¼ cup fresh torn basil leaves
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- salt, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and fry for 3-5 minutes until the garlic is lightly golden. Remove the garlic from the pan, turn the garlic oil up to medium-high.
- Working in batches, sear the eggplant in the oil in one layer for 5 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes or so to sear the outsides, sprinkle with salt and remove from the pan before the eggplant totally softens. Continue until all the eggplant is seared on the edges.
- In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, garlic chips, eggplant, and basil. Garnish with extra basil if you have any and top with the cheese.
- Can be made vegan by omitting the cheese.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Serving Size: 6
Shared with my peeps at Weekend Potluck – my fav part of the week!
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