Melanzane in Insalata alla Calabrese

In my last eggplant post, I said it was its last hurrah, I had completely forgotten about that. Goes to show you that certain bold proclamations don’t always last so long in this house, especially when it comes to food that I love. A reason that I have never dieted, I don’t like to deprive myself of things I like, my waistline agrees!

I couldn’t resist these pretty little eggplants at the market the other day and honestly had forgotten all about the rash from last year (apparently eggplant wasn’t the cause, no rashes this time!). Of course my husband is allergic to them, so I picked them up for our vegetarian dinner party, which was weeks ago, I am a little behind on the blog.

I have been meaning to represent Calabria a bit more on this blog, a region I have only driven through, but I had a lot of friends from Calabria when I was studying in Rome and a number of Calabrian collegues when I was working there. With all of these connections, you would think that I would be been more exposed to the cuisine, but I only know about their love for peperoncino and nduja, which seems to be the regional food of Calabria. I was so pleased to find this recipe, so simple and similar to my host mother’s delicious grilled eggplant, at least using similar ingredients, but very different cooking methods.

Melanzane in Insalata alla Calabrese

adapted from The Vegetarian Table: Italy by Julia della Croce

  • 1 eggplant (or 1 lb of small eggplant)
  • salt for sprinkling on eggplant, plus 1/2 tsp salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil for oiling baking sheet, plus 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced lengthwise into slivers
  • 1-1/2 tsp red wine vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh mint

Leave the skin on the eggplant, but trim off and discard the stem and navel. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Make slashes about 1/2 inch deep in their flesh on the cut sides and sprinkle with salt. Place the halves cut sides down in a colander. Place the colander in the sink or over a dish and let stand so the bitter liquid drains out of the seeds, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and oil it lightly.

Rinse the eggplant under cold water and par thoroughly dry with clean kitchen towels. Slip the garlic slivers into the slashes in the eggplant. Place the eggplant halves cut side down on the foil-lined sheet. Cover loosely with more foil and bake until completely tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and let cook somewhat until it can be handled, then cut into dice no larger than approximately 1 inch. (Do not remove the skin.) The garlic will have softened and sweetened during cooking; do not remove it. Place in a serving bowl. Add the 2 tsp olive oil, the vinegar, the 1/2 tsp salt, the mint, and the pepper flakes and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve at room temperature.

One Year Ago:  Pollo all’Arancia

Two Years Ago: Ligurian Stuffed Zucchini

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~ by italicious on May 16, 2011.

3 Responses to “Melanzane in Insalata alla Calabrese”

  1. They are the size of small lemons, tiny and delicious

  2. Lovely recipes and photos. I also make something like this, using Vincotto instead of balsamic. How big are those eggplants? They look about the size of a lemon or orange.

  3. The eggplants look like little red grapes..really cool photo:) Me loves eggplants:) Nice salad 🙂

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