This Aubergine Salad was created on a September afternoon, when a bouquet of fresh basil was just being washed and coveted; and a juicy, aromatic peach was lying near the sink, as a reminder that the summer was coming to its end. These were the extras bought from the farmers’ market, for the rest of the ingredients are mostly a staple in our house: the aubergines, the peppers and the onions. So all it needed was a quick preparation and adjustment to the flavours. Try to make it when everything is in season, you will be blown away by how lovely those ingredients work together.
Aubergine Salad with Peaches and Basil
This is more of a summer spread, rather than a salad, so treat it accordingly. It is perfect as an appetizer, served along with slices of toasted sourdough bread. Or you can use it to give taste to your sandwiches.
- 2 medium sized, or 3 small aubergines (or eggplants in their US english term)
- one garlic clove, crushed
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the aubergines
- 1/2 onion
- 1/4 piece of each: red, orange and yellow pepper; or use whatever you have available
- 1/4 peach
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs., or to taste, vinegar of choice (any white, red, apple cider vinegar will do. Avoid balsamic vinegar and the very dark varieties)
- salt, pepper to taste
Step 1 – Prepare the Aubergines for the Aubergine Salad
Preheat the oven to 220º C / 425º F.
Slice the aubergines in 2 cm (about 1 inch) thick slices. Arrange them on a baking tray and brush them well with olive oil, before salting them generously. Add some pepper, flip them over and repeat. Finish with pepper and the crushed garlic on top.
Tip: do not worry about adding too much salt to the aubergines, they somehow always manage to stay on the under-salted side.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are softened through and they take a deep, caramelised colour all over their surface.
Leave to cool and then peel the skin with your hands. Discard the skin.
Using a knife, cut the aubergine flesh into pieces. A size of 2.5 cm/1 in. is best.
Put them on a fine sieve, over a bowl and let them drain for 20-30 minutes.
Step 2 – Chop the Vegetables
Chop the onion, peppers and peach in small 0.5 cm/0.2 in. pieces. Place them in a bowl and cover with cold water and 1 Tbs. vinegar. If it is too hot a day, add a couple of ice cubes. Leave them for 10 minutes.
Step 3 – Mix and season
In a medium bowl, put the aubergine. Add the 1 Tbs. olive oil and vinegar and stir well. Taste and adjust to your liking, adding more vinegar and salt & pepper, if you wish.
Mix in the onion, peppers and peach. Tear the basil leaves in small pieces and throw them in, too.
Stir well and taste .
You can eat it right away, although this Aubergine Salad always tastes better after staying in the fridge overnight, as the flavours mellow and blend.
Storing: in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.