I recently did a photo shoot for a cheese manufacturer. Mozzarella, mascarpone, cream cheese, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella & bocconcini were my beautiful subjects for the day.
Needless to say, I cooked a lot with cheese the following week after the shoot. Our favourite Caprese salad made with fresh organic bocconcini, grilled sandwiches, au gratins, a surprise cheesecake (coming shortly!) and this lovely salad made with eggplants and bellpeppers with my favourite salad dressing ingredient, pomegranate molasses. My experience has been that this magic potion can perk up any salad!
I really don’t care much about raw salads as opposed to my better half who loves raw vegetables and salads! At exactly, two years and two months old, it is not yet clear what the preferences of the other inhabitant of our home are and how his food preferences would be is a matter of great curiosity to me at this point in time.
Since I’m fond of cooked vegetables in any form, be they poached, grilled, steamed or baked, I decided to grill some eggplants and bell peppers and assemble it with slices of bocconcini cheese and dress it up with a moderately spiced, sour and slightly sweet dressing with pomegranate molasses. If you can’t easily find fresh bocconcini or don’t have pomegranate molasses on hand, don’t fret! You could easily substitute bocconcini with paneer cheese and pomegranate molasses with balsamic vinegar or lime juice.
This makes a substantial meal by itself but you could pair it with a simple pasta, bread and soup if you want and you would have a perfect spread!
Grilled Eggplant & Bell pepper Salad With Bocconcini Cheese Recipe
You could substitute the bocconcini cheese with paneer cheese and balsamic vinegar with pomegranate molasses
500 gm (1 lb) eggplants, about 8” (20 cm) to 9” (23 cm) long cut across into 2” (6 cm) chunks
2 large or 3 medium bell peppers, cut into 2” (6cm) chunks
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp olive oil
500 gm (1 lb) bocconcini cheese, cut into 1/2 ” (1.2 cm) thick slices
10 to 12 black or green olives
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
Place the eggplants in a colander placed over a bowl, sprinkle them with 1 tsp salt and allow the bitter juices to drain, about 15 to 20 minutes. If you are certain that your eggplants are not bitter then you could skip this step.
In a bowl or on a baking tray, assemble the bell peppers and eggplants and toss with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp olive oil, arrange properly on the tray and grill in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes at 200 degrees centigrade/400 F/Gas mark 6.
In a small bowl, assemble all the dressing ingredients and beat with a spoon or whisk until smooth.
In a medium sized bowl, assemble the grilled vegetables, cheese, olives and dressing and toss until well mixed.