The mellow grilled eggplant melds perfectly with the smoked paprika and tart sherry vinegar that define the flavor of the dressing in this decidedly Spanish salad. Curls of mild Manchego complete the Spanish theme. If you can't find smoked paprika, substitute Hungarian paprika--the grilled eggplant brings some smoke to the salad on its own.
small eggplants, (about 1 pound total)
kosher salt, divided
extra-virgin olive oil
small plum tomato, diced
smoked paprika, (see Note)
mixed baby salad greens
Manchego cheese, cut into thin curls with a vegetable peeler (see Note)
Cut stripes in each eggplant's peel by running a vegetable peeler down the length of it and repeating at about 1-inch intervals. Slice the eggplants into rounds 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Lay them on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with 1/2 teaspoon
salt. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
Blot the eggplant slices with paper towels and lightly coat both sides with olive oil
cooking spray. Grill the eggplant, flipping halfway through, until soft and browned on both sides, 9 to 11 minutes total.
Puree oil, vinegar, tomato, garlic, paprika
and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until well combined.
Toss salad greens
with half the vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Arrange the eggplant slices on 6 salad plates. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Place the salad greens over and between the eggplant slices, then scatter the cheese curls on top of each salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: To experience the full flavor of this salad, it's worth seeking out the two signature Spanish ingredients: mild- flavored, smooth sheep-milk Manchego cheese and smoked paprika
. If you can't find them, substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano and Hungarian paprika.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare eggplant and vinaigrette
(Steps 1-4), cover and refrigerate separately for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Calories 141, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 7 mg, Sodium 280 mg, Carbohydrate 6 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 3 g, Potassium 287 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 25%, Vitamin C 15%. Exchanges: Vegetable 1,Fat 2.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet