Eggplant Salad

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1 eggplant
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 clove garlic

1. Cut eggplant lengthwise in half if large. Leave whole if small . Place in a shallow heatproof dish (cut-side down if halved) and steam on a rack until soft (about 3O minutes). 

2. Let cool slightly. Remove stem end and peel. Tear lengthwise in strips (this is easier than cutting) ; then chop fine.

3. Transfer eggplant to a bowl. Add vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, blending well.

4. Cut garlic clove in half. Rub inside of a bowl or decorative mold with cut surface of garlic; then place garlic at bottom of bowl. Pack in eggplant mixture and refrigerate overnight.

5. Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Invert eggplant onto lettuce. Remove garlic and serve.

VARIATIONS: For a coarser-textured dish, tear the eggplant as in step 2, but do not chop. In step 3, substitute the following dressing: 1 slice ginger root, minced; 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and a few drops of sesame oil.

Refrigerate, covered, only 1 to 2 hours.

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