Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad

I just met with Barry from New England Kitchen Depot for the first time and my head is now spinning with thoughts of kitchen layouts, stainless steel and storage space. I never thought I would spend so much time understanding the ventilation system of a hood or the three-sink requirements for a commercial kitchen (as well as how to get around all the regulations!).

So I haven't officially mentioned it before because I didn't want to jinx the process, but Gregg and I are now SERIOUSLY building a house, commercial kitchen and all. CRAZY. We staked out the floor plan last sunday and excavation starts next weekend. CRAZY. Don't ask me how it happened, but it is...... Morgage and property tax, here we come!

When all is said and done we will hopefully have a cute little country home with a modest commercial kitchen where I can create my CSK (community supported kitchen) meals, as well as offer cooking classes and complete small catering gigs. uummm... CRAZY! It is like I am dreaming, except that it is becoming a reality before my very eyes.

Anyway, back to the juicy stuff (food), I prepared this Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad along with a Smoky Corn Risotto last week and brought it down to a neighbor (and friend) I prepare meals for on a weekly basis. I am not sure I ever got her reaction, but I loved it!!! A wonderful vegetable side dish that could easily become the center of attention tossed with a whole grain and a few cubes of marinated tofu. I hope you all enjoy it as well, and I would love to hear your impressions if you try it at home!

Miso is a powerful immune booster due to it's live beneficial bacteria, similar to yogurt or saurkraut. It adds a depth to sauces and soups while imparting a nice salty punch. This recipe works well with a variety of other hardy greens, such as kale or spinach, if you are not a chard aficionado. I have also tossed in summer squash (where don't you try and hide it this time of year?) and winter squash to the roasting team, which amps up the color and texture diversity. Be creative and adapt it to your tastes and seasonal garden bounty.

Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad

Serves 6 as a side


2 medium eggplants, cubed

2 tbs. olive oil

salt and pepper

3 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 tbs. brown rice vinegar

1 tbs. agave

1 tbs. red or barley miso

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bunch Swiss chard, sliced in strips

2 tbs. green onion, sliced


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the eggplant with the oil in a large bowl and spread on two baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown, stirring half way through.

In the same bowl, combine balsamic vinegar through garlic and whisk to combine, making sure the miso is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the chard. Stir until just wilted, about one minute. Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Add chard to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to separate the leaves (use your hands if necessary). Add the eggplant, stir and set aside to let the flavors marry together for about half an hour. Garnish with green onions. This dish can be served at room temperature or chilled, depending on your preference.

Relax. Eat Well.

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