When I visited France recently, well to be more specific, Bordeaux, I ended up in an oyster restaurant that didn’t have anything to offer a vagan (me!) except a zucchini & eggplant salad – which I confess didn’t make me very excited.
But I had to take back my words (or rather my thoughts) when the food came! it was one of the most delicious creations of its kind that I’ve ever had and I was left really wanting more!
This recipe which I’m sharing with you now isn’t actually a copy the flavourings of the French version, but the idea was definitely inspired from that surprise meal in Bordeaux.
In fact, because of that one meal, when I got back home to Spain I decided to buy a ‘plancha’ (grill) so that I could start experimenting with my summer veggies from the garden. And normally I would normally have thought to cut the vegetables thinly but now, for this experiment I cut them thick, just like I had in France.
So, to begin with you’ll need to grill all the vegetables, starting with the eggplant. I like to sprinkle the eggplant slices with a little salt to bring out their flavour but you can also make this dish salt-free if you prefer.
My eggplants are dwarf sized this year so I could make the cuts across the whole eggplant but with a normal sized one you’d need to cut the eggplant in half lengthwise first and then cut it into rings.
When the eggplant’s cooked through (try one to test it because you can’t always tell with eggplant whether it’s cooked through or not and if it’s under-cooked it spoils the flavour), take off from the grill and lay on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
The same action goes for the zucchini. Cut it into rounds of about a centimetre thick and place onto the grill. At this point, slide the half cooked zuchhini a little bit to one side to allow a little space for some garlic.
Chop a clove of garlic and cook carefully on the grill. You need to keep an eye on it and turn it when it’s brown on the underside.
When the zucchini’s cooked to the level you want it, take it off the grill and place onto a dish with kitchen paper to soak up any excess olive oil. Next layer the zucchini and eggplant in a serving dish and add some sliced tomatoes and the grilled garlic.
The next ingredient is the grilled onion, (which is totally optional as you can eat the salad without too). Cut the onion in half and then slice rings from each half and place them onto the grill on a lower heat. You need to have patience for the onions!
Let them cook slowly while you do something else, just occasionally turning them over. When they’re brown, pour on a generous slosh of ketchap manis or sweet Indonesian soya sauce and allow them to cook further in the sweet sauce.
Mix the whole lot gently together and pour on a little fresh extra virgin olive oil, a grinding of black pepper and plenty of lemon juice. I used one and a half lemons for the salad in the picture. If you have some fresh basil that would go deliciously but I didn’t have any so this one’s without.
A summer salad that can be pre prepared and served alongside other summer dishes or on its own as a main course.
30 minPrep Time
1 hrCook Time
1 hr, 30 Total Time
- 1 large eggplant or 4 small
- 1 large zucchini or 2 small
- 1 large onion or 2 small
- 1 large clove garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh basil if available
- Salt to taste
- Grill each of the ingredients separately (with a sprinkle of salt) and place aside.
- When everything's cooked, place in a serving dish and mix by flipping over the vegetables carefully.
- Add some extra virgin olive oil, a grinding of coarse black pepper and plenty of lemon juice.
- Chop up a large tomato and add to the dish.
- Either serve immediately for a warm salad or leave to cool and absorb the flavours. You can also chill in the fridge overnight and serve the next day but it's best to remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before serving to take off the chill and allow the flavours to develop more.
The preparation and cooking of the vegetables individually can take time.
Let me know in the comments section if you like this recipe! And if you like eggplants and zucchinis you may also be interested in this Spanish Pisto recipe.