Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eggplant, Tomato, and Feta Salad

I'm obsessed with feta cheese. I mean the kind of obsessed where I buy it by the pound at Whole Foods on a regular basis. Ok, so I'll be honest - a pound of feta lasts me a good, long time, but it still sounds cool to say I buy it a pound at a time. This salad has feta in it, but don't too excited unless you add more than the recipe states. Of course, I'm not saying you have to follow the recipe as written. Just don't get mad that I put feta in the title when you only get one tablespoon per serving. I got this recipe from Cooking Light, and I was smitten as soon as I the ingredient combination. I'd describe this salad as something you'd find on the bar at Whole Foods. It's an intriguing combination of flavors, it breaks outside the box just a little bit, and it leaves you feeling fresh instead of gross after you've eaten it. So there. Decide from that and the ingredient list below if this is something you want in your life.

Eggplant, Tomato, and Feta Salad

1 (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 cups coarsely chopped tomato
1/4 cup (1 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Prepare grill or grill pan.
Lightly coat both sides of eggplant slices with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Cool; cut each eggplant slice into quarters. Combine eggplant, tomato, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently.

Yield: 4 servings

The 7" Santoku Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection is my favorite for eggplant. It gets right through the skin because of its sharp blade, but it's also large enough to keep your hands at a safe distance. Cutting things with knives that aren't the right size (example: baby carrots with a 7" Santoku) is a great way to injure yourself in the kitchen. And by injure, I mean horrify.

Look at that Grill Pan go! This is perfect for people like me who - cough, cough, um, well - don't own a grill. Also, how handy is it to just pull a pan out when you want fresh grilled corn? I'm piling my cooked eggplant on a Dots Salad Plate from the Simple Additions Collection.

The Large Cutting Board across the sink is a pretty normal site in my kitchen. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I lack counter space. Thank you, Large Cutting Board, for being my hero. my tomatoes are in an Easy Read Measuring Cup, and my red wine vinegar is in its baby brother, the Easy Read Mini Measuring Cup. I've never had anyone say he or she didn't love these cups after purchasing them. They're incredibly handy, and they nest inside one another for easy storage. I've got feta in a Measuring Cup and olive oil in and Adjustable Measuring Spoon. Then there's balsamic vinegar in the Scoop & Measure plus spices in a Pinch Bowl. See those tomato cores on the board? Thanks to the Core & More, I didn't waste half my tomatoes trying to cut around them.

Ok, so my "remaining ingredients" are whisked together in a Stainless Mixing Bowl just to make sure everything's incorporated before I add the eggplant, tomatoes, and feta. Since eggplant is pretty absorbent, this seems like a good call. The recipe says to cool the eggplant, so I've got it laid out on the Cooling Rack. Like the Large Cutting Board, this fits across the sink instead of demanding counter space. Love that feature!

Stack a few pieces of eggplant, make sure your fingers are out of the way, and cut into quarters. Don't try to be a hero and do too many slices at once, or you'll have a blade vs. flesh accident. Grilled eggplant is slippery, and you're asking for trouble if you get crazy with it. Again, I'm using the 7" Santoku from the Forged Cutlery Collection for all my eggplant sliciness.

Ok, so here's what people are saying about this salad:
"The blend of flavors blew my mind - I mean, eggplant, tomato, and feta - aaahhh!" - Jenny C.
"I always thought I liked eggplant, and this confirmed it. I do, in fact, like eggplant." - Jenny-Lyn
"I laughed, I cried, I decided to make it again sometime." - J. Carden

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