This salad is just perfect for summer! I had something similar at an Italian restaurant once and the aubergine (Eggplant?) was soaked in olive oil, which spoiled the salad for me because it made it richer and heavier when it should have been fresh and crispy. The texture of aubergine when it’s been soaked in oil isn’t very pleasant either.
So I made my own one at home. The key for me is to take your time to roast the veggies so the texture is perfect. This is great when you are busy doing something else because the chopping only takes seconds and you can get on with your stuff while the veggies cook in the oven. A word of caution, don’t be tempted to overdo it with the olive oil. Even if it looks a bit dry halfway through the cooking, you’ll find the vegetables really come together once they’ve been in the oven for about an hour.
The roasted pine nuts give this salad a lovely saltiness, so you can leave the cheese out if you prefer a vegan or lighter option. We had it as a side dish to a lovely fresh and super easy tomato and basil pasta. Check below.*
Serves 4 (starter)
1 Aubergine, sliced
1 Courgette, sliced
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh pine nuts
Grated parmesan cheese (if using)
A few basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Salad leaves to serve
Preheat the oven to C170º. Lay your vegetables in an oiled roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. You only need a fine drizzle, not to coat the vegetables. Bake for about 30 minutes.
Half-way through the cooking turn the vegetables and add the garlic and half the pine nuts. Return to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes, until cooked through and the thinner slices are starting to crisp.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down a bit. Then sprinkle the parmesan cheese (if using), the remaining pine nuts, salt and pepper and decorate with fresh basil leaves. Serve on top of the salad.
*Tomato sauce: Simply fry some garlic in olive oil until the aroma is released, add some chopped tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar and some basil leaves. Bring to a very gentle simmer until you reach the thickness you like.