I decided to make the holiday an homage to Smitten Kitchen, which always has such beautiful dishes. We ended up making four of her recipes! Before this, I hadn't made a single one. :( Smitten Kitchen is actually the first blog that I ever followed, thanks to the friend that accompanied me to London & Paris.
For holidays, typically my mom cooks the proteins, my sister does the starchy sides or a non-protein entree, and I am in charge of the veggies and desserts. After calculating how many people we would need to feed, I settled on three vegetable dishes and one dessert.
The first vegetable recipe that I chose was the Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint. It was so delicious and beautiful, I think everyone should definitely make it for their own holidays, or even a regular meal.
I made a few changes here and there to the original recipe. I used a soft mozzarella instead of the ricotta salata, due to availability. I lessened the amount of capers to cut out some sodium, for my dad's sake. Instead of mint, we used the fresh basil from our garden. All in all, minor changes but still a beautiful dish. Here's my version!
Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Basil
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut in 3/4- to 1-inch slices (about 2 medium)
2 oz. mozzarella, packed in water, chopped
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced (about 2 medium)1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 tsp. capers
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
|*Tip: Eggplants with LOTS of seeds will "shrink" considerably during roasting, so cut the slices slightly thicker.|
1. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil.
2. Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Roast in a 425 degree oven without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the undersides are blistery and dark and the rounds release easily from the baking sheet.
4. In the meantime, mix the tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, basil, capers, vinegar and 4 teaspoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste.
5. When done, flip each eggplant round and sprinkle the second side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Roast for an additional 10 to 12 minutes.
7. To serve, arrange the eggplant on a serving platter and scoop a spoonful of the salad over each round. Eat immediately!
Since we had lots of dishes, I did as much as possible the day before.
- I mixed everything in the salad topping except the basil. DO NOT pre-chop the basil because it will become brown and wilt.
- I did not slice the eggplant rounds beforehand, but technically you could do so and just pop them in the oven the next day. They will brown a little, but it won't matter since they will roast until dark anyways.
I love how colorful and delicious this dish is! It'll definitely be an easy one to make for future parties.
What's your go to dish when company comes over?