V Grilled Eggplant and Pepper Salad
By Martha Rose Schulman, NY Times Recipes for Health Series; takes a couple of hours to make but much of it is waiting time. Serves 6
2 1/2 pounds eggplants
2 green or red bell peppers, or 1 of each
3 to 6 mildly hot chilies, like anaheims -- choose the larger ones from the farm, they are not as spicy
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 garlic clove, smashed into a paste with a little salt
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint or cilantro
Prepare a hot grill. Pierce the eggplants in several places with the tip of a knife. Grill the eggplants, peppers and chilies, turning them every four to five minutes until blackened all over and soft. The chilies will be done first, then the bell peppers, then the eggplants (timing depends upon the size). Remove the chilies and bell peppers, place in a bowl and cover tightly. Let sit 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the eggplant as it’s done to the bowl. Cover and allow to sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Pour off any liquid from the bowl.
2. Peel and seed the peppers. Cut into small dice. Peel the eggplant if desired, and chop and toss with the peppers. Add salt to taste, the lemon or lime juice, garlic, olive oil and herbs. Stir together well, and let sit for another 30 minutes or longer if possible. Serve at room temperature.
Variation: A Catalan version of this, escalivada, omits the chilies and herbs but includes a couple of tomatoes and four spring onions, which are grilled with the other vegetables. About twice as much olive oil would be used in an authentic escalivada, but I prefer the amount called for in this recipe.
Advance preparation: The mixture will taste even better if it sits for anywhere between 30 minutes and a few hours.