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Each September when day days get shorter and the first cold winds show up, I’m in between happiness and little sadness. I feel happy, because I welcome autumn with all its beautiful colors, the fresh air, the smell of withered leaves and the low standing golden sun glowing through the trees. But a little sad as well,  as I’m such a summer person always seeking the warmth, the sun just wearing sandals and a dress. To extend the beloved summertime feeling I like preparing mediterranean food with lots of flavor, aromatic herbs and fresh olive oil. For this purpose eggplants are exactly the right choice! In cooperation with Auberginen Niederlande* I would like to show you today a wonderful recipe and give you even more inspiration for the delicious egg fruit, that are available in many wonderful shapes and colors.

Eggplants are available in the classic dark violet shade, but also in white, purple, marbled, speckled and even green. No matter how different the colors and shapes are, it doesn’t make any difference in taste. Eggplants even have relatively little taste of their own. But this is precisely what makes them super versatile. They gratefully accept the taste of spices and herbs. Today I show you my latest eggplant addiction: An aromatic eggplant bread salad, also called “Panzanella”.

Here I combine baked eggplant slices with tomatoes, onion, olives, capers and roasted garlic ciabatta (or french bead). Hope you enjuy, best Lea

*I was very happy to team up with my friends from www.auberginen.nl/de for this recipe-posting. Thank you very much.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the bead salad

  • 25 g (0.8 oz) pine nuts
  • Half a ciabatta/french bread (5.3 oz)
  • 1.5-2 eggplants (17.6 oz)
  • 4-5 tbsp. olive oil
  • A small garlic clove
    Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 15 g pitted green or black olives
  • Optional: 30 g (1 oz) capers
  • 1 small (red) onion
  • Fresh Basil to your liking

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar (or apple vinegar)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions (25-30 minutes)

  1. Let the pine nuts brown in a pan (without any further oil) until they get golden and fragrant.
  2. Cut the bread into slices. Wash the eggplants and cut into slices, too.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Brown the bread slices on both sides until golden. Press half a peeled clove of garlic into the hot oil shortly before the end.
  4. Heat up a (grill) pan with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Fry the eggplant slices on both sides, season with salt and pepper and season with 1-2 teaspoons of herbs de Provence. (Alternatively, marinate the aubergine slices and grill them on the garden grill on both sides). Then place the aubergines in a baking dish.
  5. Cook the pre-grilled eggplants at 200°C (392 °F) fan for 15-18 minutes.
  6. Wash and slice the tomatoes. Cut olives and capers in half. Cut the roasted ciabatta into cubes. Peel 50 g onions and cut into slices.
  7. Arrange grilled eggplant slices, tomato pieces, roasted bread, onions, olives and capers in a bowl or on a plate.
  8. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with roasted pine nuts and serve with basil to your taste. Give the panzanella a finish with salt and black pepper and enjoy!