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A Roasted Eggplant Salad with Asian Ginger Sauce

Scripps Howard News Service

Must credit Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With photo/graphic: SH12I133ROASTEDEGGPLANT

By GRETCHEN MCKAY

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Looking for a good recipe using eggplant? I found a stunner in food writer Melissa Clark's Asian-style side dish.

Eggplant too often is buried (or lost?) beneath layers of breading, red sauce and cheese or mashed into baba ganoush. In this recipe, Clark simply roasts it, then dresses the silky wedges in an oniony ginger sauce. Fabulous!

I didn't have any cherry tomatoes, so I substituted chunks of Big Boy tomato. And, yes, I went a little crazy with the chile oil.

1 large eggplant (about 1-1/2 pounds), sliced into wedges

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup peanut oil

2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons grated ginger root

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil

Few drops rice-wine vinegar or white-wine vinegar, to taste

Few drops chile oil, optional

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Basil or cilantro leaves, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss eggplant wedges with olive oil and salt to coat. Spread eggplant on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together peanut oil, scallions, ginger root, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar and chile oil, if using.

Toss the roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes with the peanut-oil dressing. Finish with torn basil leaves or cilantro leaves.

Serves 2 ardent eggplant lovers or 4 regular people.

-- Melissa Clark (www.melissaclark.net)

(Contact Gretchen McKay at gmckay@post-gazette.com.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)