Spanish Tapas Menu: Tomato Eggplant Salad

| August/September 2008

Serves 6 to 8
This tomato eggplant salad is simple and tasty. I like to use the long, skinny Japanese eggplants because they can be sliced into little rounds or cut into half-moon shapes. If tomatoes are not in season, use good-quality canned tomatoes instead. Marjoram or oregano can be used instead of basil. A roasted red bell pepper also is tasty in this dish, and sometimes I add kalamata olives instead of capers. Serve as a small tapas salad with bread or garlic toast.

  • 3 Italian or Japanese eggplants OR 1 large eggplant, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large ripe tomato OR 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • Pinch sugar
  • ½ cup basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice eggplant; if using large eggplant, cut slices into smaller, bite-size pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake about 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender and cooked but not too soft.
  2. Transfer eggplant to a bowl. Add onion, tomato, garlic and capers.
    In another small bowl, combine olive oil with vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper; blend well with a fork.
  3. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss. Add basil and toss again, then taste for seasoning; adjust with salt, pepper, oil or vinegar. Serve immediately or keep at cool room temperature for about an hour. (If you refrigerate it, bring to cool room temperature before serving.)

Contributing editor Susan Belsinger of Brookeville, Maryland, cooks up an astounding array of delicious herbal recipes, articles, books and lectures. 

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