Insalata Cotta e Cruda di Melanzane, Peperoni, Pomodoro e Cipolla

Cooked and Raw Salad with Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Onion

Roasted eggplant and bell peppers are the only cooked ingredients here. The spicy taste of the eggplant that perks up this salad comes from roasting it whole over a gas burner. If you don’t have gas, it can also be done under a broiler or in an oven heated to its maximum setting.

Ingredients

  • ½ large red Bermuda onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 pound eggplant, preferably small, young ones
  • Salt
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, preferably yellow, but if unavailable, red
  • 4 fresh, ripe, firm plum tomatoes
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Method

  1. Place the sliced onion in a bowl of cold water. Squeeze the onion tightly with your hands, drain after 7 to 8 minutes, refill the bowl with fresh water, and put the onion back in water. Soak for at least 30 minutes—the longer the better—in several changes of cold water.
  2. Wash the eggplants, but do not trim them of their stems. Place over a burner and turn on the heat to high. (If you do not have gas burners, see introductory remarks above about using the broiler as an alternative.)
  3. Roast the eggplants on all sides, using the stems or 2 spoons to turn them. Do not puncture the skin. In about 10 minutes, when the eggplants feel soft if pressed with a spoon, they should be done. Remove from the heat.
  4. As soon as the eggplants are cool enough to handle, peel, discard the stems, and cut the flesh into lengthwise strips about ½ inch wide. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  5. Roast the peppers over the burner in the same manner as the eggplant, charring the skin on all sides. Place them in a paper or plastic bag and twist it tightly closed. Before the peppers cool completely, remove them from the bag, peel them, split them lengthwise to remove the core and seeds, and cut the flesh into lengthwise strips about ½ inch wide. Set aside.
  6. Skin the tomatoes raw with a peeler and cut them into ¼-inch wedges. Pick out most of the seeds with the tip of a paring knife.
  7. Place the strips of eggplant along the bottom of a serving bowl. Over the eggplant arrange the tomato wedges in a sunburst pattern. In the center place the peppers.
  8. Drain the onion, dry it by shaking it in a cloth or a salad spinner, and spread it over the other ingredients in the bowl. Sprinkle with salt, grindings of pepper, the olive oil, and the vinegar. Bring to the table, toss, and serve.

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