This weekend I whipped up the Grilled Ratatouille Salad which was featured on the cover of the current issue of the Vegetarian Times. On the cover, the salad looks bright and perky, a bit summery and flouncy, like a teenage cheerleader headed off to summer-camp, soon to be deflowered:
But holy shit was this meal misrepresented by this picture. After grilling this salad up on E's hubcap, tasting it, and taking pics, I realized how goddamn sexy this salad actually is. It looks like something out of a Edvard Munch painting, dark, a bit spooky, sultry, and erotic. And it tastes much of the same, so simple and yet so rich with flavor from the balsamic reduction and the grilled veggies.
If lust had a flavor, this would be it.
Needless to say, this would make the perfect summer-seduction meal: it won't leave you sweating and stinky from having the oven on (you can save that for the bedroom), and yet it'll offer a rich variety of seductive flavors for the palate of that stone-cold fox that you've been trying to get in the sack for weeks now.
It looks like sin. Hot hot dirty sexy sin. And it tastes pretty close too.
Now I'm all tingly and shit.
The things I do for food.
(All ingredient-changes I made from the original are asterisked.)
- 3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1 medium eggplant, cubed into 1/2 to 1" cubes
- 2 large red peppers, diced*
- 3 medium-sized zucchini, diced into 1/2 to 1" cubes
- 1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
- 1/4 c. basil, chopped
- 1/2 c. pine nuts*
Put vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 12 minutes or until vinegar becomes syrup-like and reduces to 1/4 cup. Set aside.
Place eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and onions into a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature (or refrigerate overnight). Pour off any liquid.
Spritz a stove-top grill hubcappy thingie with some non-stick spray and heat it up on your stove (if you want to grill this outside, you'll want to follow the original direction and not cube your veggies, otherwise they'll just fall through--the cubed veggies work on the hubcap grill though, so these directions are specified to that). Grill the vegetables until nicely roasted (but not soggy). You will probably have to do this in batches (I think it took me about 3 or 4 batches). In a big-ass bowl (it makes a lot), toss with parsley, basil, pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. Serve warm or chilled (I ate mine over quinoa, and it was delectable).
(Recipe adapted from the Vegetarian Times, May/June 2007, p. 76.)