This is the third of 4 new posts on the Tomato, each an entry in the Washington Post’s 2011 Top Tomato recipe contest. Our first entry, Pomodori al riso, and second entry, Panzanella, were previous posts. We also entered our most popular post, Pasta fredda.
It’s late July and outside it hot – hazy skies, drastic dew-points, and soaring temperatures. The heat was so intense this week that pavements buckled, power outages ensued and outdoor events were cancelled in Minneapolis. Windows steamed up and pavements glistened in the humidity. At night, the skies became tempestuous and wild.
Melanzane e pomodorini is just the dish for weather like this. The artful combination of seasonal produce has the vibrant hues and intense flavors of a deep, hot summer. Grilled eggplant provides an earthy, nutty taste, kept in balance by the juicy, tangy cherry tomatoes. Finely diced garlic gives an edginess to the salad, olive oil adds depth and makes it glisten, and flat leaf parsley lends a hint of freshness, like a cool breeze arriving to break the heat.
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
1 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley
1/8 C. olive oil
Salt to taste
Cut the cherry tomatoes into small pieces and place in a salad bowl. Chop the parsley and add it to the tomatoes. Dice the garlic finely, and add it to the bowl. Pour olive oil over the tomato mixture, and stir well. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
Slice the stem off the top of the eggplant and using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, peel the skin off of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into slices approximately 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the eggplant slices onto a grill and cook over high heat, turning once until both sides are golden brown. Watch the eggplant carefully; it will only take a few minutes per side to cook. In absence of a grill, the eggplant can also be cooked in a skillet on a stove top. If you opt for this method, simply place the eggplant directly onto a hot skillet.
Add the grilled eggplant to the bowl with tomato mixture and stir well. The eggplant will absorb the olive oil and the juices of the tomatoes, turning a darker color and curling up in the process. Allow the dish to sit for a few minutes, and serve at room temperature.