Saddlerock Garden's Seared Eggplant Salad

Eggplant is still in season through the early fall and it truly makes a wonderful, earthy salad (one that won't wilt!) for any occasion. 

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Recipe courtesy of Saddlerock Gardens in Malibu.

INGREDIENTS

2 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1" cubes
1 summer squash, sliced into half-rounds
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 cup hominy
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted and salted
salt, to taste

dressing:
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Dry-roast eggplant on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20 minutes. 

Heat a cast-iron skillet over med-high heat and toast the cumin seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant and toasted. Remove the cumin seeds from the pan and set aside.

Add grapeseed oil to the skillet, then sauté the squash and roasted eggplant along with a pinch of salt until richly golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

In a large bowl, gently mix squash, eggplant, cumin seeds, hominy, radish, and 2 tbsp sunflower seeds. Add avocado, cilantro leaves, and dressing, and continue to fold in gently.

Top with the remaining sunflower seeds and a few cilantro leaves.

To make the dressing: whisk the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper in a small bowl.