Remember all that produce I bought last week? As of last night, I still had several tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers and an eggplant, which I couldn't let go to waste. I didn't have much time to make dinner, so I got out pork chops for the hubmeister to grill, and I prepared a tomato, cucumber and Vidalia onion salad. Hubmeister doesn't care much for eggplant but he likes stuff fried, so I marched to the bookshelves and pulled out Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.
Nobody makes eggplant like the Italians, and she has the best eggplant Parmesan recipe going, in my humble opinion. That's another post. In her book, fried eggplant is the entry before that extraordinary Parmesan recipe, and fried eggplant sounded good.
One thing I noticed about Marcella's eggplant recipes is that she often slices the eggplant lengthwise, and then salts the pieces, allowing the liquid to drain off for about 30 minutes before patting them dry and frying them. This is what she calls purging the eggplant of its harshness.
Why no skin? It is stringy, bitter and generally unpleasant, but it slipped right off. Eggplant is so spongelike that I don't know how you could fry it and not have a somewhat greasy result, but surely Marcella could convince me otherwise, and I erred somehow in following her recipe. I was spared a loathing moment because this dish was still edible. Hubmeister snuck some creamy dressing onto his portion.
Enough about the eggplant. I feel I owe you a recipe that I like, and it's the tomato salad. This takes 10 minutes to prepare and is a delicious way to use those summer tomatoes adorning your kitchen counter.
(Inspired by Tomatoes Lutece in Gulfshore Delights)
8 ripe tomatoes, cut in eighths
1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1-2 cucumbers, sliced down the middle and then sliced in half moons
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
For the dressing:
1/4 C olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Combine tomatoes, onion, cucumber and parsley. Mix dressing ingredients with a whisk and pour over tomatoes. Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.