My abject love for Erin Gleeson’s cookbook The Forest Feast has been well documented (and now there is a Forest Feast for Kids, and I have no kids buuuuuutttt…), and it proved its prime position amongst my cookbooks once again with another CSA-veggie-highlighting, speedy, delicious dinner.
The dish is entitled “Eggplant Salad”, but I almost would call it an Eggplant Caprese, since it combines the glorious ingredients of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Oh, and crispy garlic. mustn’t forget the crispy garlic.
The recipe kicks off with a good amount of chopping and slicing, along with some roasting.
It then proceeds with some luscious dipping and breading and frying. This part was actually quite difficult, as we followed Erin’s instructions to fry the breaded mozzarella and then drain on paper towels, but the melty cheese stuck to the paper towels and was a huge mess. I think maybe we didn’t bread enough (plus we lost some during the frying), but thankfully I was able to salvage enough golden melty crispy cheese that it wasn’t a huge issue. (We also fried the garlic, with much less struggle.)
And in the end, you pile everything on top of everything else and you have a quite lovely and very hearty salad, or caprese, or whatever you want to call it.
I will say, upon first tasting this, I was a bit doubtful – it’s a lot of somewhat mushy textures, and was missing a bit of snap. Then I got a piece of crispy garlic, and the flavors melded as we ate, and by the end the whole plate was gone and we were sold. Yum.
From Erin Gleeson’s The Forest Feast
I’m not going to re-post the full recipe here, as really you ought to go get Erin’s book and read it yourselves (I use it so much I can’t go posting all the recipes here or I think I’d get sued). Instead, I give you the ingredients, and the humble suggestion that a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and twice the recommended crispy garlic would likely not harm this pile of goodness.
Yield: 2 Servings (as a meal), 4 Servings (as a side)
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
8 thick slices mozzarella
1 beaten egg
Breadcrumbs (to coat mozzarella)
4 cloves elephant garlic, sliced [I used 8 cloves regular garlic]
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped basil
I was not compensated for this post. All the opinions are my own.