Hi there– At the grocers I can scarcely walk by those pretty deep purple Chinese eggplant, so shiny and finely curved. It’s always so tempting to pick up a few. So for dinner with friends tonight we’re having eggplant in this roasted vegetable salad– along with a list of “comfort foods” that my friend Betty and I are cooking up. (Her bacon laced macaroni and cheese is legendary in our circle of friends).
ROASTED VEGGIE SALAD
One head of your favorite leafy salad green*
2 smallish beautiful purple Chinese eggplants
2 small zucchini
1 chunk of banana squash
1/4 cup olive oil
several shakes of garlic salt
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in small bits
1/2 cup feta with herbs and garlic
Peel the squash and then cut the eggplant, zucchini and squash in pieces. Toss them in a mixing bowl along with the olive oil and garlic salt. Mix til the veggies are all coated and spread them on a cookies sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until they just start to brown around the edges. Stick them in the fridge to cool for a few minutes. Then layer the lettuce, veggies, red pepper, feta, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 heaping tab. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
Shake this well in a small container with a lid until it all emulsifies. Pour over the salad just before you’re ready to eat.
*I like red leaf lettuce
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup hazelnuts
In a heavy skillet, stir the sugar and nuts over medium heat until the sugar melts into caramel and coats the nuts. It takes a few minutes. Then spread them onto a piece of foil on the counter and when they cook, break apart any nuts stuck together. Delish.
P.S. — Some of our favorite friends are going to be around the table for the “Betty & Rhonda’s Comfort Food Dinner.” We’re having old fashioned favorites– Red pepper & parmesan turkey meatloaf, Betty’s famous mac & cheese, green beans almandine, this salad, orange rosemary corn muffins. And for dessert Betty’s bourbon bread pudding and my apple pecan crumble tart. Worthwhile conversation, old friends, lovely food. I’m looking forward to it.