Provencal Eggplant Salad With Olives and Capers

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Provencal Eggplant Salad With Olives and Capers

Heat the grill or broiler.


Roast the eggplants, turning them often, until their skin blisters and begins to blacken, then peel and drain them.


Chop the eggplant with a knife, leaving it a bit chunky. Transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic and mix well. Stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, the black and green olives, capers and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve in a shallow bowl or on a plate.

Cooks in southern France flavor eggplant with a Provencal caper-olive paste called tapenade, which complements eggplant well because of its salty taste. I dice the olives instead of pureeing them to a paste and leave the eggplant chunky for a better texture and color. If you want to add anchovies, a classic tapenade component, use three or four olive-oil-packed filets and chop them fine. Spoon this salad in the center of a bed of romaine lettuce leaves and garnish it with ripe tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes; or serve it in a bowl as a relish and top it with parsley sprigs and olives. Crusty French bread is the perfect partner. Recently my husband came up with a new use that might raise a few eyebrows among Riviera residents--he spreads this Provencal eggplant on grilled soy burgers and sprinkles it with Mexican hot sauce.

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