I absolutely adore eggplant. I like roasted eggplant, grilled eggplant, stuffed eggplant, and eggplant in ratatouille, but I think my favorite way to eat eggplant is when it’s fried in olive oil and made into a salad…
This is a scrumptious fried eggplant dish that I adapted from a wonderful cookbook called The Scent of Orange Blossoms by Kitty Morse. The original recipe does not contain feta, but I needed to combine a few letters (“E” and “F”) for the alphabetical blog challenge I am attempting this month, so I took the liberty of adding it (my Daring Cooks/Bakers posts need to happen on specific dates, so I’m trying to make make sure I don’t screw those up)…
The feta more than works, and this is wonderful with warm pita bread or alongside other Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
Eggplant and Feta Salad
1 large (globe) eggplant or 2-3 smaller eggplants
Himalayan or sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil, for frying the eggplant
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 handful of parsley, finely minced
rind of 1/2 preserved lemon, finely minced (the recipe is here)- optional
2-3 Tb. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I prefer feta made from sheep milk, but any kind is fine)
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle both sides of each slice lightly with salt. Allow 30 minutes for the eggplant slices to “sweat” (this helps to reduce any bitterness). Rinse eggplant slices well under running water and then pat dry. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 Tb. of the olive oil. Add slices so that they fit in a single layer and lay flat. Fry, turning once, until they are lightly browned on each side, 6-8 minutes. Add additional oil as needed and continue to fry the rest of the eggplant. Drain on paper towels and allow the eggplant slices to cool.
Arrange the eggplant slices on a platter and sprinkle with the garlic, parsley, preserved lemon rind, vinegar and feta.