I made this super quick salad to use some of the fresh ricotta I have been making for the last couple of weeks. Along with a green salad, grilled chicken, and crusty bread it made a delicious dinner on a weekday evening. It was so pleasurable to spread the ricotta on the bread, add a slice of eggplant and a few tomatoes squashed onto the top, and enjoy the textures and flavours in my mouth. Roasting tomatoes whole for a short while releases their sweetness and makes then absolutely delightful to eat – squishy and juicy and warm. This salad will serve 4 – 6 as a side, or 2 hungry vegetarians for lunch.
1 medium eggplant, sliced
700g mixed small tomatoes, as many varieties as you can find.
a handful of Italian parsley
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
250 g fresh ricotta cheese
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 180 C. Place the eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with silicon paper, brush with a little olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Place the tomatoes on another baking tray and drizzle over about 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add the thyme sprigs. Bake the eggplant and tomatoes for 15 – 20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and golden, and the tomatoes soft, but still whole. Some of the smaller tomatoes may have split skins, but that’s fine – their escaped juice will be added to the salad. Place the eggplant slices on the bottom of a serving platter and then tumble over the tomatoes, drizzling them with any of the sweet juices and olive oil in the pan. Sprinkle with the roughly chopped parsley and place the ricotta on one side of the plate with a knife to hand for people to serve themselves.