Tuscan Marinated Eggplant Salad (Ensalata di Melanzane)

>> Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tuscan Marinated Eggplant Salad (Ensalata di Melanzane)

Joe and I spent the first day of our honeymoon in the airport in Rome waiting for a flight to Pisa, where our luggage had gone and where our rental car was waiting. We missed our connecting flight because of slow lines going through Customs. After several hours, and a couple more cancelled flights, we decided to rent a car and drive up to our cottage in Tuscany.

I didn't even make it out of the parking garage before crawling into the back seat and going to sleep. I was struggling with jet lag and exhaustion from weeks of wedding arrangements. I couldn't drive a stick shift anyway, so I wasn't much use in driving the Autostrada.

We were hours late in arriving at the Agriturismo where we would spend the next week. Our hosts at Rosa dei Venti, who operated the hotel and villas on an ancestral working farm, welcomed us with prosecco and a meal they'd made especially for us: an antipasti plate of sausages and cheeses, marinated eggplant salad, a meaty pasta sauce called Ragu di Carne, a stewed rabbit and chicken dish (coniglio in umido alla toscana), an apricot tart, and fresh figs from the tree next to our cottage.

They also brought two bottles of hearty Barbaresco wine, and we toasted everything we could think of. The family's German Shepherd, Azzo, nosed his way into our villa and sat down by the hearth. We tossed him scraps of rabbit and practiced our Italian. Azzo pricked up his ears no matter which language we spoke to him.

Later, we lay out in the grass and listened to the festival in the tiny town of Creti below us, the high-speed bullet trains rushing from town to town, and the sunflower heads rattling against each other in the vast field to the north. It was a beautiful day.

Tuscan Marinated Eggplant Salad (Ensalata di Melanzane)


1 medium eggplant
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped Roma or plum tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, snipped


Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Heat a dry griddle and sprinkle it with salt. Toast the eggplant on each side until brown and tender, about 5 minutes per side. Finely chop the parsley.

Place the eggplant on a platter. Drizzle with vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil and scatter the parsley evenly over the slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature.

Cut the tomatoes into a small dice and let the juices drain out in a colander or sieve. Stir in the last tbsp of olive oil, the garlic, and the basil. Spoon the tomatoes over the eggplant just before serving it at room temperature.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad, or 8-10 as an appetizer.


tuscany villas February 4, 2013 at 4:27 AM  
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Randy Stevens March 20, 2013 at 10:08 AM  

Thanks for sharing this, it looks like you guys had a great time, and the food looks delicious! One of my friends recently went to see some of the Tuscany Villas and he was blown away by them all. He said they look just as good on the inside as they do on the outside. Looks like you guys have a really nice place.

the hungry lovers,  May 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM  

We loved our villa at Rosa dei Venti. Tuscany is beautiful!

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