This recipe, offered by Karen J. Berk, a Los Angeles-based food consultant, prepares this light vegetable mélange that is reminiscent of a ratatouille. Instead of sautéing each vegetable separately in olive oil, the traditional way of preparing the dish, she grills Japanese eggplants and combines them with roasted peppers, onions and a shower of crumbled goat cheese. If you don't have access to a grill, use a broiler.
5 lbs. Japanese eggplant, left attached at the stem, cut into 1/2-inch slices lengthwise
2 Tblspns Olive oil
2 med red bell peppers, whole
2 med yellow bell peppers, whole
1 med red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/2 lb. crumbly goat cheese
3/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 C flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat broiler or barbecue until hot. Position the rack about 4 inches from the heat.
Brush the eggplant slices liberally with olive oil on both sides. Place them directly on the grill or under the broiler and cook until tender and lightly browned, turning once. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Remove them from the grill and set aside on paper towels to cool slightly.
Roast the peppers until totally charred. Place in bags to steam, then remove the skins, discard membranes and seeds, and cut into 1-inch strips.
Discard eggplant stems. Combine the eggplant with the peppers and onion rings in a large, flat serving bowl. Crumble the cheese on top.
In a small bowl, whisky together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme, salt and peppers. Drizzle it over the eggplant mixture. Sprinkle on the parsley. Add extra vinegar if needed