I first encountered Yotam Ottolenghi when Heidi Swanson featured his recipe for Eggplant and Mango with Soba Noodles on her blog. Two things you should know about me: 1) I am absolutely crazy for eggplant. 2) I am absolutely crazy about putting fruit in savory dishes. So eggplant and mango in a dish together? Sold! I tried it, I loved it, and I knew I had to learn more about this Ottolenghi character. (By the way, his Eggplant & Mango recipe is on pg. 112 of Plenty.)
What else can I say about this cookbook? He has an entire chapter devoted to eggplant. His blurbs about each recipe are short and entertaining. I should probably mention that while he is not a vegetarian, all of the recipes in this cookbook are vegetarian, but all can certainly be tweaked to differing tastes. In his introduction he talks a bit about why he writes a vegetarian column despite the fact that he eats meat, and people’s different motivations for choosing more pragmatic diets.
For this recipe, Ottolenghi asks Italians to forgive him for swapping cilantro for the traditional basil in this dish. I had a lot of the eggplant and salsa leftover after making this recipe, and so the next day I layered them with some mozzarella on good bread spread with pesto, and the cilantro and basil complemented each other very well.
- 3 medium eggplants
- olive oil
- Maldon sea salt and black pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/8-inch dice
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 1/2 tbsp capers, plus 1 tbsp of the caper brine
- 5 oz top-quality buffalo mozzarella
- 1 cup picked coriander leaves
Mix together the bell pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, capers and brine, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (the mix can be kept refrigerated for several days; the flavors will deepen over time).
To serve, arrange the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on a serving dish. Break the mozzarella into large chunks and scatter on top. Spoon over the yellow pepper salsa and finish with the cilantro.