The flavours are unbelievable in this cooked salad.
The roasted vegetables are mouth-watering and full of flavour. The real twist to this recipe is the bergamot olive oil. Specialty olive oil stores carry this type of infused, cold-pressed olive oil and I am hooked.
3 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise in strips
1 large eggplant, diced
3 yellow peppers, quartered for roasting then sliced
3 orange peppers, quartered for roasting then sliced
1/3 c. fresh oregano, chopped
salt to soak the eggplant
1/3 c. cold-pressed bergamot olive oil
canola oil for frying the eggplant
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. spanish smoked paprika
Remove about 1 c. of the diced eggplant and reserve.
With the remaining eggplant, sprinkle table salt over the diced eggplant which has been placed in a sieve and put over the sink (to prevent a mess when the eggplant releases its liquid). I’m always thinking of the cleanliness of your kitchen…Let the eggplant soak in the salt for about 1 hour. If you are impatient, like me, every so often, squeeze the liquid out of the eggplant to drain faster. I swear this works. It cuts the time almost by half.
While the eggplant is soaking….
Roast all your vegetables, including 1/2 c. of diced eggplant in the oven on broil for approx. 10 minutes. Once chared, remove the skin from the peppers. Slice the tender peppers and the zucchini and place them in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour and the spanish smoked paprika together. Once your eggplant is ready after having released its liquid, toss the flour mixture over the eggplant. Coat the eggplant well.
In a large skillet, heat enough canola oil to fry the eggplant croutons. They are ready once they are dark brown. Make sure to drain them well by placing them directly on a paper towel lined plate.
In the bowl with your roasted sliced vegetables, add the chopped fresh oregano. Mix well.
Then toss the vegetables with the bergamot olive oil. No need to add salt here because the eggplant croutons are already salted.
Top the salad with the eggplant croutons. If not serving right away, place eggplant croutons in a separate bowl on the side otherwise they will get soggy.