Moroccan eggplant, tomato and bean salad recipe with toasted garlic and mint

Moroccan-inspired summer salad.
Moroccan-inspired summer salad. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Gluten-free

Serve with a boiled egg as a simple summer lunch or alongside fish and some saffron-scented steamed cous cous and you have a healthy, Moroccan-inspired dinner.

Ingredients

2 medium-large purple eggplants

2 oxheart, or ripe, full-flavoured tomatoes

200g green beans or roman beans (also called Dutch flat pole beans)

1 small clove garlic + 6 large cloves garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp ground cumin

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

4-6 stems of picked mint leaves

Method

1. Preheat oven to 230C. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork or the tip of a knife. Roast eggplants on a tray for about 20 minutes, or until they are completely soft. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, peel off the skin and remove the stem. Pull the eggplant apart into thick ribbons and set aside.

2. Trim the stems from the beans and blanch in heavily salted boiling water for one to two minutes, then quickly remove and spread out on a plate so they finish steaming and then cool. They should remain crunchy. You do not want to shock the beans in ice water because this leaches a lot of their natural sweetness away. Set aside.

3. Make a vinaigrette by crushing the small garlic clove with some salt in a mortar and pestle or with the back of your knife on a chopping board. Mix it with the lemon juice and cumin then slowly drizzle in three times as much olive oil as juice. Set aside.

4. Slice the six garlic cloves as thinly as possible. Add them to a cold frying pan with a generous amount of olive oil and slowly bring up the heat to medium low. Allow the garlic to sizzle until pale golden, then remove it from the pan onto a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. They will continue to deepen in colour after being removed from the pan so take them off before you think they are done so they do not burn. Toasted golden colour is what you want. If they are brown, they have gone too far and will be bitter.

5. To assemble the salad, spread the eggplant on the bottom of a serving dish and sprinkle with some salt. Cut the tomatoes into large wedges or chunks, season with salt and then drop them over the eggplant, along with the beans. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and sprinkle with toasted garlic and mint leaves.