Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thyme Roasted Eggplant Salad

Thyme & Mint Roasted Eggplant

Japanese Eggplant, Arugula, Spinach, Tomato
Garlicky Yogurt Sauce, Arugula Flowers Garnish

While the presentation may look a bit familiar, the dish itself is unique.  It is inspired by one of my all time favorite chefs ~ Yotam Ottolenghi. His fans will recognize the Japanese eggplant presentation from the cover of his innovative vegetarian cookbook Plenty, where he adorns them with pomegranate arils and za’atar. Try Ottolenghi’s dish in autumn when pomegranates are in season, but try my version this summer with bursting ripe tomatoes and vibrant fresh greens.

Roasted Japanese Eggplant

How to Roast Eggplant

Cut Japanese eggplants in half lengthwise. Score a diamond pattern into the flesh. Brush generously with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, sprinkle with fresh thyme and mint. Roast in a 400° oven for about 30 minutes until the eggplants are soft and browned. Cool to room temperature.

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. fruity olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside to let flavors meld.

Wild Arugula

Thyme and Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Tomato, Yogurt Sauce

The arugula and arugula flowers come from my garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness. Interestingly, as the arugula plant flowers, the flavor of the leaves become more intense, more peppery. Pairing the peppery arugula with an equal amount of fresh spinach helps balance the fresh green flavors.

Composition

Thyme and Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Tomato, Yogurt Sauce

  • roasted eggplant
  • spinach (not baby), torn
  • arugula leaves
  • arugula flowers
  • tomato, seeded and diced
  • petite fresh mint leaves
  • garlicky yogurt sauce

Thyme and Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Tomato, Yogurt Sauce

Side note: Do you remember the time was there was no such thing as triple washed baby spinach in a bag? I have memories of working alone in the basement kitchen at the old Ute City Bank Restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, hands submerged in a big stainless sink full of spinach, pulling off the center stems and tearing the leaves for our popular spinach salad. That hearty texture and flavor of mature spinach leaves paired perfectly with those hot bacon dressings from yesteryear.

Thyme and Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Spinach, Tomato and Yogurt Sauce

Toss arugula and spinach with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange eggplant on a platter. Top eggplant with greens, spoon yogurt sauce over the greens. Top with tomato, garnish with flowers and mint.

Thyme and Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Tomato, Yogurt Sauce

For extra crunch and flavor, add nuts or seeds. Here, roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) made a tasty addition….

3 comments • Filed in: Meatless

3 Responses to “Thyme & Mint Roasted Eggplant with Arugula, Spinach, Tomato and Yogurt Sauce”

  1. Eha says:

    Absolutely beautiful presentation [and a tap on my knuckles for still not having ordered a copy of 'Plenty'!] of what promises to become a standby in my kitchen as I love and keep all the ingredients: have just turfed another luncheon dish off tomorrow’s menu :) ! Well, it will have to be without the arugula flowers as my leaves are store-bought plain :) !!

  2. I’ve never seen arugula flowers before. How nice that you can add them to the dish, they are so lovely!

Leave a Reply