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Eggplant, Pear and Pecorino Salad
© Marcus Nilsson

Eggplant, Pear and Pecorino Salad

  • TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • FAST
  • HEALTHY
  • VEGETARIAN

There’s a saying in Italy that one should never tell a farmer just how good his cheese and pears taste together (presumably because if he knew, he would hoard them all). In this salad, Opera 02 chef Silvana Baranzoni adds eggplant and walnuts to that beloved duo.

  1. 1/3 cup walnuts
  2. One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  3. Extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Salt
  5. Freshly ground pepper
  6. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  7. 2 Bosc pears—peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  8. 1 tablespoon Cognac or other brandy
  9. 1 small garlic clove, minced
  10. 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  12. 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  13. 1 tablespoon honey
  14. Thin shavings of Pecorino Toscano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a pie plate, toast the walnuts for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant over moderately high heat until lightly browned and tender, about 2 minutes per side.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the pear slices and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until just starting to soften, 3 minutes. Add the Cognac and toss the pears to coat thoroughly; remove from the heat.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of oil with the garlic, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the parsley and 1/2 tablespoon of the chives. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange the eggplant slices on a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Arrange the pear slices over the eggplant and drizzle with the honey. Scatter the walnuts, cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and 1/2 tablespoon of chives over the top. Serve.

Suggested Pairing

Most people expect Lambrusco to be sweet, but a nicely dry, black cherry-scented bottle would be a good match here.