Aubergine is delicious cooked on the barbecue, but if you don’t have one, use an oven-top griddle pan instead. If you’re using slightly larger leeks, blanch them for about 4 minutes.
1. Measure the balsamic vinegar into a bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil, so that it forms a thick emulsion. Season to taste.
2. Drop the beans into a saucepan of boiling unsalted water. Cook for 6 minutes, or until tender. Drain and immediately spread them out on a plate. Allow to cool slightly, then dry with kitchen paper and place in a mixing bowl. Toss in half the vinaigrette.
3. Cut a cross in the leafy green part of each trimmed leek. Wash the leeks thoroughly in plenty of water, then drop them into a saucepan of boiling unsalted water and cook for 2 minutes, or until they are just tender. Drain and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze dry with some kitchen paper and set aside.
4. Once the coals on the barbecue are glowing white, or your griddle is hot, cut the aubergine into 1cm/½ in thick slices lengthways. Lightly brush with some olive oil, season and place over a medium-hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until seared a deep golden brown by the grill and cooked through. If possible, sear a diamond pattern on to each slice. Transfer to a plate and lightly coat both sides of the aubergine with some of the balsamic vinaigrette.
5. Lightly oil the leeks and grill for 2 minutes, turning regularly until they are flecked with gold. Remove and gently mix into the beans.
6. To serve, gently mix the rocket into the beans and divide between 6 plates, spreading out the tentacle-like tops of the leeks. Weave in the marinated aubergine. Cut the mozzarella into thick slices, season lightly with pepper and slip into each salad. Serve immediately.
This recipe is from Simply Veg by Sybil Kapoor published by Pavilion Books. Recipe photography by Karen Thomas.
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