A Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Toasted-Breadcrumb Salsa Verde
by Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun International Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
I love eggplants, I love Italian salsa verde. So when I found this recipe by Tasha De Serio in Fine Cooking Magazine, I knew I had to try it. I used this recipe in a class I did for Mexican cooks.
For the topping:
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, preferably from an Italian loaf
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and more as needed
1 small shallot, very finely minced
2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1/2 tablespoon capers, rinsed well and coarsely chopped
1 anchovy fillet (preferably salt-packed) rinsed and finely chopped
For the eggplant:
1 large globe eggplant (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and more as needed
Make the topping: Heat the oven to 375F. Put the breadcrumbs in a pie plate. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil on top, and mix well to evenly coat the breadcrumbs. Spread the crumbs out for even toasting. Toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, approximately for 12 minutes. Let cool.
Combine the shallot, vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the herbs, capers, and anchovy in a small bowl. Set aside.
Grill the eggplant: Prepare a charcoal or gas grill or heat a ridged frying pan (a regular frying pan can also be used). Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until golden-brown on one side, turn and grill until the eggplant is soft rather than white and hard.
Just before serving, combine the shallot mixture and the toasted breadcrumbs with the herb mixture. If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more vinegar if necessary--it should have a nice acidic kick. Spoon some salsa over the top of the eggplant slices and serve any remaining sauce on the side.
Note: You can make the eggplant in advance and serve it at room temperature, then wait until just before servings to assemble the salsa topping.
Something new in San Miguel: A variety of eggplants from a local organic ranch