This dish is so, so tasty. It is amazing hot. It is amazing cold. It was kind of an accident that we ever made it, but ever since we did, we haven’t been able to stop! It all came about while we were staying in Sardinia. The air was hot and the produce was fresh. We were in the mountains, but we could see the ocean. Perfection.
That morning we went to the local market in the village and found these bright pink and white striped fresh borlotti beans. And goat’s ricotta, still warm, from the charming local cheesemonger. The eggplants, tomatoes and basil were so plump and bright and perfect, too And this dish just kind of created itself and made its way into our late-lunch bowls. A happy bowl of goodness to capture that moment forever.
extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 packed teaspoon thyme (or rosemary) leaves, finely chopped
2 eggplants (about 650g in total), diced
500g cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined salt
2 cups cooked borlotti beans
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 packed cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
200g fresh cacioricotta or ricotta
extra-virgin olive oil
4 sourdough flatbreads, or similar
Add a generous splash of olive oil to a medium, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to soften. add the eggplant, whole tomatoes and salt and continue to sauté for about 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is really starting to fall apart. add more oil as needed while it cooks, as the eggplant will continue to soak it all up – that oiliness is absolutely key to the eggplant melting properly! You can lower the heat a little if you feel it needs to slow down.
After 20 minutes, add the beans and toss gently to combine (tossing, rather than stirring, helps the tomatoes hold their shape). Cover, then cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes until the beans are hot and the ones on the bottom are a little browned. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vinegar and basil and toss through gently.
Serve in individual bowls topped with the cacioricotta or ricotta, some basil leaves and a final swirl of oil. Serve with flatbreads on the side.
Fresh veggies at the market in Sardinia – where the recipe for this salad was first concocted. Photo – Shantanu Starick.
Beautiful borlotti beans. Photo – Shantanu Starick.
Eggplant from Matt and Lentil’s productive garden in regional Victoria. Photo – Shantanu Starick.
Be sure to check out Matt and Lentil’s recipes for cacioricotta and sourdough flatbread – the perfect accompaniments to this wholesome salad! Photo – Shantanu Starick.