For the past few years we have attended a Food & Cooking Expo that usually happens in November. There are booths set up where you can sample the wares of different food vendors, exhibits of kitchen utensils and cookware, and best of all, the cooking demonstrations. At the demonstrations a chef prepares a dish before the audience, and while he is making the recipe on stage, the staff in the back room is making a lot more and everyone in the audience gets to sample the finished product.
This salad comes from one of these expos. The flavors blew me away and I call it “The World’s Best Salad. Now, it’s a bit more work than a simple salad, but it’s worth the effort for holidays or a special occasion.
Oven Dried tomatoes. (See the recipe on this site.) 3 or 4 halves per serving
1 Large Eggplant
4 Slices Fresh Italian Bread
Mozzarella Balls – Ciliegine (Cherry Size) 3 or 4 per serving
Garlic or garlic powder
Garlic Olive Oil
Sage & Wild Mushroom Olive Oil
Black pepper, white pepper, salt.
Prepare the Oven Dried Tomatoes according to the recipe on this site. I usually make these fresh from the garden in the summer and freeze them for special occasions and the holidays.
Dry the Mozzarella balls and marinate them with a bit of garlic infused olive oil and some black pepper. Peel and cube the eggplant. Mix with oil and spices the same way and then broil under a broiler until browned.
Chop the bread slices into ½ inch cubes. Toast in a frying pan over medium to high heat with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Stir often. Season with garlic powder and white pepper. Cook until lightly browned.
Wash and dry greens. It is important that they are dry so that the oil sticks to them. Toss with some sage and wild mushroom olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of Balsamic vinegar and toss together. I have a sprayer for the balsamic vinegar which makes it easy to evenly coat the salad greens without overdoing it. The secret of this recipe is to not use a lot of vinegar.
Arrange greens on individual salad plates. Top with 3 or 4 tomato halves, eggplant, 3 or 4 marinated mozzarella balls and croutons.