Char-grilled Aubergine and Roasted Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese
I am indebted to Chris Payne, who very generously gave me this splendid recipe. If you don't possess a ridged grill pan, you could grill the aubergine slices till nicely browned and tender. Either way, this is a truly delicious combination of textures and flavours.
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You will also need a baking tray measuring 10 x 14 inches (25.5 x 35 cm), and a ridged grill pan.
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two.
First of all skin the tomatoes by covering them with boiling water for 1 minute, then drain them and slip off their skins. Cut them in half and place them on the baking tray, cut-side up, then season well, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over and place them on the top shelf of the oven to roast for 50-60 minutes. After this time, leave them aside to cool.
While they're cooling, cut the aubergines across into ½ inch (1 cm) slices, lay the slices on a board and lightly sprinkle them with salt on both sides. Leave them for 20 minutes to draw out some of the excess moisture, then blot them dry with kitchen paper. Next, brush them on both sides using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with freshly milled black pepper. Brush the grill pan lightly with olive oil and place it over a high heat, then, when it is very hot, cook the aubergines in batches for about 2½ minutes on each side (this should take about 20 minutes in all).
Now pour the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil into a large bowl, add the basil and balsamic vinegar, then toss the cooked aubergines in this marinade and leave them in a cool place until you are ready to serve.
Divide the salad leaves between 4 plates and arrange the tomatoes and aubergines alternately all around. Then place equal quantities of the Feta slices in the middle of each salad and drizzle with the remaining marinade.
Finally, put 1 tablespoon of crème fraîche on top of each salad and sprinkle a little paprika over.
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