At the very end of summer, I was given two of my very favorites kind of gift-the kind you can eat! A coworker brought in eggplant that he had grown over the summer in his garden, and my old neighbor gave me a basket full of fresh off the vine tomatoes from her garden.
In order to squeeze one last bit of life out of the summer (which went way too quickly this year!), I wanted to enjoy the flavors of these veggies in a simple way with a panzanella salad! To give this simple salad an extra boost of flavor, I roasted the eggplant and tomatoes along with onions and garlic. This method brings out their sweetness and carmelizes the vegetables for an unbeatable flavor!
To begin, chop all your vegetables into 1 inch pieces. Toss the eggplant with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and spread it on a baking sheet.
Repeat this step with some tomatoes, onions, and whole garlic cloves and spread them on a second baking sheet.
Because the eggplant takes a little longer to cook than the tomatoes, you want to use separate cooking sheets. Roast the eggplant in a preheated 375 degree for 15 minutes by itself.
Remove the eggplant from the oven and toss to redistribute. Add the baking sheet with the tomatoes and onions to the oven to roast alongside the eggplant for another 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, grab a big loaf of delicious Italian bread.
Cut up the loaf into 1 inch cubes.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet. Toss the bread in the olive oil and cook until it is nicely toasted. If you have a third baking sheet and room in your oven, you could do this step in the oven. I have neither of those, so I took the stove top route!
While your bread is toasting, and your veggies are roasting (that rhymes!) get going on your dressing. Mix together some olive oil, white balsamic vinegar (your could use regular balsamic as well, but I like the look of white balsamic for salads, etc.) some Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Simple, simple!
When the eggplant and tomatoes are roasted and nicely caramlized, remove them from the oven.
Add all the veggies to the dressing and toss to coat. Make sure you get all the juice that has escaped from the tomatoes!
Since we roasted our garlic cloves whole, this is the time to mice those up. Add them to the veggies, along with your toasted bread cubes and give everything a big toss to coat.
You cane serve this salad warm, with you vegetables coming right out of the oven, or you can refrigerate it at this point and serve it once it has chilled.
Roasted Eggplant Panzanella
Makes 6 servings
- 1 large or 2 small eggplants
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1/2 salt (divided)
- 1/4 tsp pepper (divided)
- 1 large loaf (16 oz) Italian bread
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp white (or regular) balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut eggplant, tomatoes, and onions into 1 inch cubes.
- Toss eggplant with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Spread evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Spread evenly in a single layer on another baking sheet.
- After roasting for 15 minutes, remove eggplant from oven an toss. Return to oven. At this time, add the baking sheet with the tomatoes, onions and garlic to the oven and roast alongside the eggplant for another 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and caramelized.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cut the loaf of bread into 1 inch cubes.
- Heat a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil to medium-high heat.
- Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Continue cooking until bread is toasted.
- meanwhile, whisk remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard into a smooth dressing.
- When vegetables are finished roasting, remove from oven. Mince garlic cloves.
- Add all vegetables and toasted bread to the dressing and toss well to coast evenly.
- Serve warm, or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
One last taste of summer before autumn sets in!