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This Spanish-themed summertime salad showcases the sweet smokiness of grilled eggplant. Like most grilled vegetables, eggplant can be served at room temperature or warm. If you find several varieties of eggplant - they come in a myriad sizes and colors - this is the time to try them out. I found this in EatingWell Magazine - July/August 2007. It is worth seeking out the two signature Spanish ingredients: mild-flavored, smooth sheep-milk Manchego cheese and smoky paprika. If you can’t find Manchego sub Parmigiano-Reggiano and Hungarian paprika. To prepare the eggplant and vinaigrette; cover & refrigerate separately for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving. Low cal/low carb/low sodium/low cholesterol.
- 1 lb eggplant (about 2)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- olive oil flavored cooking spray
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
- 1 small plum tomato, diced
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons smoked paprika (Spanish paprika necessary for the integrity of the dish)
- 3 cups mixed baby greens
- 2 ounces manchego cheese, cut into thin curls with a vegetable peeler (necessary for the integrity of the dish)
- Preheat grill to medium.
- Cut stripes in each eggplant’s peel by running a vegetable peeler down the length of it and repeating at about 1-inch intervals.
- Slice the eggplants into rounds 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Lay them on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Blot the eggplant slices with paper towels and lightly coat both sides with olive oil spray.
- Grill the eggplant, flipping halfway through, until soft and caramelized on both sides, 9 to 11 minutes total.
- Puree oil, vinegar, tomato, garlic, paprika and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until well combined.
- Toss salad greens with half the vinaigrette in a medium bowl.
- Arrange the eggplant slices on 6 salad plates.
- Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.
- Place the salad greens over and between the eggplant slices, then scatter the cheese curls on top of each salad.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.