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Eggplant, ricotta, newsom’s ham recipe

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Adjust Servings:
1 large or 2 medium Eggplant , sliced into ¾-inch-thick disks
About 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Ricotta
1 teaspoon grated Grapefruit Zest
3 ounces country Ham , preferably Col. Bill Newsom’s
½ cup cooked black-eyed Peas , patted dry with paper towels
Canola Oil or corn oil for deep-frying
Grapefruit Vinaigrette
½ Grapefruit Juice t (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Eggplant, ricotta, newsom’s ham recipe

  • Serves 5
  • Medium


  • Grapefruit Vinaigrette



Salads fall into two categories: tossed and composed. I like serving this as a composed salad, which means that all the components are prepared separately and then put together on the plates at the last minute. There are many different types of eggplant out there, so be sure to experiment with some of the beautiful heirloom varieties. For an elegant salad like this, I will always go with the intensely salty Newsom’s ham.



Preheat the oven to 400°F.


Arrange the eggplant disks in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush on both sides with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Roast for 16 to 18 minutes. Flip the slices of eggplant; they should look browned on the bottom and the skin should be slightly blistered. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Set aside.


Meanwhile, mix the ricotta with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the grapefruit zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Reserve.


Slice the country ham; you want as many slices as you have eggplant disks. Set aside on wax paper or a cold plate until ready to use.


To make the black-eyed peas: In a skillet, heat about 1½ cups canola oil to 375°F (the oil should be ½ inch deep). Slowly add
the black-eyed peas and fry them, stirring very slowly, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the skins are very dark and crunchy. Immediately remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt over the fried peas
while they are still hot.


To make the vinaigrette: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. (The vinaigrette can be made ahead and refrigerated
in a jar until ready to use. It will separate after a few minutes, but that’s okay. Just shake it up a bit right before serving.)


To serve, divide the eggplant evenly among four or five salad plates. Place a spoonful of ricotta on each eggplant disk. Drape a slice of country ham over the ricotta. Sprinkle the fried black-eyed peas over and around the plates. Finish by drizzling the grapefruit vinaigrette over the salads.


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