Roasted Graffiti Eggplant and Yellow Zucchini Salad

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You can find some pretty interesting things at a farmers market, and on my last trip I snagged some graffiti eggplant and yellow zucchini – not squash, neon yellow zucchini.  To be honest, I had never seen these vegetbles before, but was excited to take them home and experiment.  I made big plans for these finds – grilled vegetable skewers, using a few veggie add ons I had at home – but quickly realized that I’d have to come up with a new idea, due to “equiptment restrictions” (I don’t have a grill).  Roasted vegetables are great as a side dish, or sprinkeld over some greens  for a savory lunch salad, and in retrospect, I’m so happy to have roasted these veggies.  Graffiti eggplant’s opaque white center becomes completely marbled in the oven, and the zucchini skin retains it’s vibrant yellow color – it was a great surprise, and a great lunch add-on!

Ingredients:

  • 2 graffiti eggplant (they are about half the size of a standard eggplant)
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • half of a red onion
  • 2T (or more) extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices, to taste
  • spinach or other salad greens
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Chop the eggplant, zucchini, and onion into any shape or size that you want to eat – just remember that the vegetables will shrink down when you roast them so don’t cut them too small.  Because I keep the skin on my vegetables, I also have to cater my shapes to the texture of each one.  For example, eggplant skin can be chewy when roasted, but the flesh stays soft, so I cut mine into smaller cubes as opposed to round slices – if not, you’d end up mashing the middle to cut through the skin when you’re ready to eat.  Next, place your vegetables on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil, and toss the veggies to coat.  Sprinkle over your spices, and toss again.  I used salt, black pepper, and a mix of oregano, basil, and parsley.  If your spices are dried like mine were, crush them between your fingers before sprinkling them over the veggies to release the flavors.  Distribute your veggies inthe pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasted, but not too soft.  I used the onions as a judge for this one – once they were translucent and browned but not completely mushed, I knew they were ready.

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I used my 25-ish minute wait time to make a balsamic reduction to dress my vegetables.  I used to think that this was a complicated, fancy dressing, but really it just sounds fancy and complicated, and you can bump your chef-cred in no time.  Take 2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 2-3 cloves of garlic, and heat on medium-high for about 30 minutes, or until the vingegar has reduced by about half, stirring often – cool before serving.  The vinegar will bubble and simmer, and reduce into this syrupy-sweet drizzle, perfect for a salad.  You can make the reduction without the garlic, or subsititue in any other flavors that you’d like – sage leaves, thyme sprigs – just cater the spices to those you’ve already used on the vegetables.  I love garlic, so I used 3 cloves that I had roasted earlier to enhance the flavor.

When the veggies are done, and the balsamic is cooled, assemble your salad, and enjoy!  I also added baby heirloom tomatoes for an extra color boost – add in whatever you like!

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