Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Eggplant Salad with Parsley, Sultanas and Pine Nuts

I’ve been keeping a hungry eye on one particular plant in the corner of our veggie patch. It shot up quickly, its deep purple stems thickening and extending into large, violet-edged leaves. Crinkly, delicate mauve flowers opened with a shock of yellow stamen protruding from their centre, promising the arrival of my favourite nightshade – eggplant. The bulbous beauties have indeed developed, but are not quite ready for the picking. So when I saw a basket of oddly shaped organic eggplants at the market, I was happy that other plants could feed my craving.

Eggplant Salad with Parsley, Sultanas and Pine Nuts

If eggplant is in season, this salad is soon to be served on my table. It’s one of those familiar recipes that springs to mind when I’m standing in the supermarket on a Tuesday night, devoid of inspiration for dinner. All I need is an eggplant, a bunch of parsley, a detour down the nut aisle and the rest of the ingredients are in the pantry at home.

Eggplant has an unfair reputation for being fussy, what with the “to salt or not to salt” predicament. If your eggplant is overripe or seedy, it can taste bitter. Cutting up your eggplant and placing it in a colander with a decent sprinkling of salt for 30 minutes will remove that bitterness (wash, drain and dry your eggplant before continuing with your recipe). I have never bothered doing that with this salad. I just chop the eggplant into cubes, let its thirsty flesh soak up a generous bath of olive oil and roast it until it’s slightly charred, sweet and tender to the touch. The balsamic vinegar counterpunches that sweetness while the pine nuts and sultanas add texture.

Eggplant Salad with Parsley, Sultanas and Pine Nuts

This salad is extremely versatile. It can be served warm or at room temperature which makes it an excellent partner to a slow-roasted leg of lamb on a cold day or barbecued lamb chops in a heat wave. It can also stand alone atop a charred piece of bread to make a delicious crostini or enveloped by soft, warm pita with a dollop of hummus and a handful of olives for lunch.

Eggplant Salad with Parsley, Sultanas and Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 450g (1lb) eggplant
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 50g (2oz) pine nuts
  • 50g (2oz) sultanas or raisins
  • A big handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Method

Pre-heat oven to 220C/425F.

Cut the eggplant into cubes and toss thoroughly with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant on a large baking tray (or two smaller ones) in one layer, making sure there’s no overlapping pieces so they all have room to cook evenly. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cubes are golden and soft to touch.

While your eggplant is roasting, toast up your pine nuts (taking care not to let them catch and set fire to your kitchen).

In a big bowl, gently mix the golden eggplant with the remaining ingredients. Check for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Food from the Place Below.

26 thoughts on “Eggplant Salad with Parsley, Sultanas and Pine Nuts

  1. Jess says:

    Another delicious looking dish Amelia. I’ve never really cooked with eggplant before. I shall have to try it!

    1. Amelia says:

      It would be lovely on top of your beautiful bread that’s been toasted on a grill.

  2. kimwardell says:

    What a perfect dish! I have a couple of eggplants waiting for a simple new recipe and this will make a great dinner tomorrow.
    Thank you for providing constant inspiration. I used your soda bread recipe yesterday with my girls and it was fantastic! I wrote about it here…. http://www.designlifekids.com

    1. Amelia says:

      Kim your kids are gorgeous! And that soda bread looks delicious – the cranberries look like a great addition. So pleased you liked it. :)

      1. Thanks Amelia! I updated the text and put a bigger link to your site. <3

  3. Oooh my! It looks absolutely delicious! Will have to give it a try soon! :-)

    1. Amelia says:

      I hope you enjoy it Zoe

  4. Ooh I LOVE the look of this! So simple but I bet it tastes amazing!

    1. Amelia says:

      It’s a good one Becca

  5. those caramelized eggplants are absolutely glorious!!

    1. Amelia says:

      I think eggplants taste best when a bit overcooked. These ones were good!

  6. Saskia (1=2) says:

    This looks SO good Amelia. Beautiful photography too. Enveloped in a ‘soft, warm pita with a dollop of hummus and a handful of olives’ sounds divine, and much nicer than the sad sandwich I’m looking at now.

    1. Amelia says:

      Thank you Saskia! Sadly the leftovers are long gone and I too am left with a sad lunch.

  7. This looks delicious! Eggplant and parsley are made for each other. Love the pictures.

  8. Sophie James says:

    Beautiful photos and lovely writing, and I’m very glad you flagged up eggplant – my absolute favourite too. And I love the salad idea. The eggplant keeps its integrity that way. Can’t wait to give this a go.

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks for the lovely words Sophie. You’re right about eggplant keeping it’s integrity – you get the whole eggplant “experience” when the skin is on and the flesh is soft.

  9. My favorite eggplant dish is baba ghanouj, however, I’ll have to give this a try as it looks delicious!

    1. Amelia says:

      I also love baba ghanouj, but have never tried making it. Maybe when my eggplant plant finally gives me something I can try it.

  10. bec {daisy and the fox} says:

    love the whole ingredients combination!! yum yum yum!

  11. Simple yet absolutely delicious – that’s my kind of cooking! Gorgeous photos too! X Jade

  12. ndlrie says:

    Wowwowwow,look delicious.

  13. Jessica says:

    Tried it. Was so easy to make and delish!

    1. Amelia says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Jessica. Thanks for posting a comment.

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