Demo: Eggplant, Lemon and Caper Salad
Local eggplant is abundant and beautiful right now; lovely, firm, deep purple-black, plump and juicy. The eggplant starring in this fresh summer salad was grown at Lewis Creek Farm in Starksboro. Perfect for a summer lunch or dinner, this dish is easy to transport and lends itself to all kinds of pairings with fresh summer food and drink.
The eggplants get trimmed but not peeled, cubed, salted and left to drain in a colander over a sink while the rest of the ingredients are prepped. I chose large green olives stuffed with roasted red pepper from the olive bar at Healthy Living as well as the capers. These olives are huge, so I sliced them crosswise to show the pretty red pepper center and coarsely chopped the capers. Fresh organic lemon was chosen for the zest and juice. A microplaner is a great tool to have in the kitchen as the zest it produces is light, fluffy and infuses the dish with a lemon essence rather than any bitter chunkiness that could result from using a less refined cut. Coarsly chop some fresh parsley and mince a small clove of garlic. Place all of these ingredients in a serving bowl and combine thoroughly. Next, rinse the eggplant, pat dry and saute in a heated non-stick skillet with a small glug (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil until golden and softened, stirring often. Do not crowd the eggplant, better to work in batches if necessary, or the cubes will not cook evenly. I suggest a non-stick skillet here because, as many of you know, eggplant is a sponge for oil and rather than needing to add more and more oil to prevent sticking in a regular pan, I like to let the non-stick surface do its trick. Lay the eggplant out on a few layers of paper towel to drain off any excess oil and to cool a bit before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Mix gently, taste for saltiness or perhaps more lemon is needed. Serve right away (with fresh baguette and maybe a glass of chilled white wine?) or hold covered in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if served at a later time. This eggplant salad would work well in a sandwich wrap with hummus and chopped fresh veggies, as a part of a mediterranean platter with toasted pita bread or as an offering at a potluck meal. Enjoy!
We love to feature local and seasonal produce at our demo counter- stop by to sample our offerings and pick up a recipe card for the featured recipe as well as others from our recipe racks. Healthy Living recipes are also available on our website and can be searched by ingredient or keywords.
Happy Cooking! Gerda, Demo Coordinator