the appetizer:

Starting with Ingredients by Aliza Green, offers hundreds of international recipes featuring ingredients from around the world, including Haitian Roasted Eggplant Salad, Ukrainian Spinach & Egg Noodle Casserole, and Rustic Plum Tart with Slivovitz.

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Haitian Roasted Eggplant Salad

Serves 6

I adapted this boldly seasoned, Asian-Caribbean fusion eggplant salad from a recipe of Chef Guillermo Pernot's in the James Beard award-winning book I co-authored with him called Ceviche: Seafood, Salads, and Cocktails with a Latino Twist. While he boils his eggplants, I roast them to intensify their flavor and get rid of excess liquid. I'm not quite sure that this is a traditional Haitian dish. As a teenager growing up in Washington, D.C., I was friends with a number of Haitians, one of whom was my next-door neighbor, who was the son of the Military Attache at the Haitian Embassy. While I ate and enjoyed lots of Haitian food then and frequented Haitian restaurants and clubs, I never tasted anything like this dish. In any case, Asian eggplants work beautifully here, because they are so creamy and mild, and because the salad combines Asian and Caribbean flavors. Serve as part of an array of salads and appetizers or with crostini or pita chips for a quick hors d'oeuvre.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic and toss with the eggplant. Spread the eggplant in a single layer on a metal baking pan. Roast about 15 minutes, or until well-browned and soft throughout. Remove from the oven, cool, and reserve.

In a medium bowl, combine the red pepper, ginger, habanero, sesame seeds, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, and salt to taste. If serving immediately, add the scallions, parsley, and cilantro.

Otherwise, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to two days, and add the scallions, parsley, and cilantro just before serving. If making ahead, taste for seasoning; the salad may need extra vinegar and salt, because flavors tend to fade in the refrigerator.


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This page created June 2007