Here is a fun summer salad, a little time intensive, but a crowd-pleaser none the less. You can make earlier in the day, as long as you don’t dress the salad until you are serving it.
- 4 slender eggplants, sliced crosswise ½ inch thick. (You can salt the eggplant after slicing, to draw out the bitter juices. Let the salted slices sit for 30 minutes before grilling.)
- 4 large firm tomatoes, sliced crosswise ½ inch thick (Do not cut too thin, or tomatoes will fall apart on the grill as they cook.)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing the tomato and eggplant slices)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for dressing)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon capers, with some juice from the jar
- ½ tablespoon vinegar (Sherry, balsamic or red)
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup basil leaves
- Light a grill, gas or charcoal
- Arrange the eggplant and tomato slices on a baking sheet and brush on both sides with ½ cup of the olive oil.
- Season eggplant and tomato with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the oregano.
- Grill the tomato slices over a hot fire for about 1 minute per side, or until they are charred but still hold their shape. Transfer to a platter.
- Grill the eggplant over a medium fire for about 5 minutes per side to get some nice grill marks.
- In a small bowl, combine the capers and caper juice with the vinegar, lemon zest and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- To put the salad together, alternate the grilled tomato and eggplant slices on a large platter.
- Place the basil leaves between the slices of tomatoes and eggplants.
- Drizzle the dressing on top and serve warm or at room temperature.