Monday, July 1, 2013

eggplant and garbanzo bean salad

I was inspired to make this salad after reading through a menu from a restaurant who featured a salad with garbanzo beans and a cumin vinaigrette. Eggplant seemed a natural accompaniment, and since I had some newly bought coriander seeds, I threw them into the mix. It is earthy and lemony. If you don't like those flavors, you won't like this. But if you are up for a slightly pungent, spice and herb, lemon infused meal in a salad, you will.

2 big handfuls of red leaf lettuce
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp zatar
1/2 of an eggplant
1 TB of panko
1 large carrot, grated
handful of parsley
6 toasted almonds

for the vinaigrette:
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp salt
2 TB lemon juice
3 scallions, white and part of the green, chopped
3 TB olive oil

tortillas, pita, or naan

Place the garlic and seeds in an iron skillet with the oil and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Cook until the garlic is just turning a pale yellow, you don't want it to brown. Add the green onions and salt and cook a minute more until the onions have softened. This only takes a minute. Let cool and then process in a magic bullet, or cuisinart, with the lemon juice and salt.
Into that same pan, cook the peeled and chopped eggplant in a little bit of water, maybe 1/4 of a cup. When the water has evaporated and the eggplant has cooked through, place it on a cookie sheet with a spritz of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and the bread crumbs, and broil until the crumbs start to turn golden. I was surprised how well this worked; the bread crumbs really stuck to the eggplant.
Grate the carrot and chop the parsley. Still using the same pan, toss in the garbanzo beans with zatar and maybe a drizzle of olive oil if you think it needs it. Cook until heated through and maybe starting to crisp.
Pile the lettuce with the beans and eggplant. They might be warm or at room temperature, either is fine. Give each plate a good scoop of grated carrot, sprinkle of parsley, and 3 almonds.
I toasted my tortillas. Good to have something to scoop with. Enough for two big salads.

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