(from Babylove)

Here’s something for all you beri-genki nasu fans out there. (Editor: nasu means eggplant in Japanese)

Now, I’d like to give credit where credit is due, this recipe is just my take on a salad that was made originally for me by Keiko. She helped start me on the road to reconciliation as far as my rocky relationship with nasu is concerned. Up until then we were not on speaking terms other than the occasional very crispy & well made tempura nasu. My version of course, is most inferior compared to hers, as Keiko added the famous Baysidian secret weapon of “Thai Sauce”. (Secret no longer, mwwah hah!)

Masa: Ah-ha it’s sandwiches for lunch, bring out the Thai sauce
Keiko: Ohhh, it’s salad for dinner, bring out the Thai sauce
Benny: Mmm…it’s dried fishies for snack, bring out the Thai sauce

OK, so I personally don’t use the Thai sauce for this, call me traditional but I don’t really like adding it to “Italian food”, unless you can’t notice it, (except, eh hum, Italian dressing…heh! Shh, don’t tell Michael I told you, just a tbsp or 2.). But you can if it works for you. Here’s my take :

6-7 smaller eggplants
oil for frying
¼ c olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 dry red pepper
a few strips of bacon, cut into 1cm strips
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato or 2, diced
salt & pepper
2-3 tbsp vinegar (red wine, or balsamico if you like it)
basil (fresh is even better)
Parmesan cheese

Preparation: Chop the eggplant 1 cm thick soak in salt water for 10 min. Drain & fry with oil on med/low heat till browned on both sides. (eggplant=sponge, you really need to add some oil to get it to “caramelize” on the outside, keep the flame low) lay eggplant on flat dish. Fry up bacon strips, set aside, fry up garlic & red pepper in oil.

(ideally you should let the garlic soak in the olive oil for quite awhile before frying) keep the heat low, turn off the heat right when the edges start to brown, let the garlic soak & discard the pepper)

Now for the assembly: Sprinkle bacon over eggplant, next onion, diced tomatoes, & spoon garlic & the garlic/olive oil & vinegar over it all. Salt & pepper to taste (my taste: LIBERALLY) & basil. Lastly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Note: This salad is a sooo purrty & great served cold, so make it in advance. A bed of lettuce would give a great presentation, I’d imagine & could probobly turn it into a main salad rather than a side dish.
Also, I wouldn’t say you need every ingredient on here, but I would have to say the onion, garlic & tomato are pretty essential. You can of course try other toppings: thin red & yellow paprika slices, sautéed mushrooms, black olives or, of course…….THAI SAUCE!!

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