Warm salad of sweet and sour eggplants with cheese and pistachios

Add some warmth to your salad with winter coming up - the combo of eggplants and pistachios will surprise you with how good it tastes!

Ingredients:

2 large or 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
60-90 ml extra virgin olive oil
100 ml dry vermouth or white wine
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
200 g crumbly or soft cheese, such as feta or goat’s cheese, broken into chunks
4 teaspoons pomegranate molasses handful of mint leaves, chopped
75 g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Options
Substitute an aged balsamic or balsamic glaze/syrup if pomegranate molasses is unavailable.

Directions:

1. Slice the stem off the eggplants. Stand them on the severed end and slice downwards, shaving off and discarding the first and last bit of skin. Make slices 1 cm thick. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil.

2. Cook the eggplant in batches. Heat a chargrill pan until very hot. Lay the eggplant slices in the pan and cook each side until translucent and striped with black. Allow to cool slightly, then cut the cooked eggplants into long strips about 2 cm wide.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. (If you have used up all the oil, add a couple of tablespoons to the pan.) When hot, add the eggplants and spread them out evenly in the pan. Add the vermouth or wine all at once – stand back as it may splutter at first. Season well with salt and pepper and cook, stirring gently, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the vinegar and honey to the pan and stir. Cook for a couple more minutes, while the juices thicken and caramelise, then remove the pan from the heat.

4. Make a bed of baby spinach leaves on each plate and pile the eggplants on top. Scatter the cheese over them. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, sprinkle with the chopped mint and pistachios and serve.

Images and recipes from SuperVeg by Celia Brooks by Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99. Photography by Jean Cazals.