Sometimes, it’s not so easy to figure out whether to share a recipe or not. Maybe I like the idea but it didn’t turn out the way I expected or something tastes great, but the texture isn’t there. (Actually, the biggest problem is usually that it’s unpresentable – or that it was so good, I didn’t even stop to take a picture.)

Added to all the problems that arise while testing recipes is the fact that some days, even weeks, my intuition for cooking is just off. Like that time a couple of weeks ago when I made a quick dip for my carrots and combined sour cream, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt.

But over the past few days, I’ve been very successful! In fact, I’ve been planning everything really well, too! I fed my sourdough, worked it, and baked it today and made two delicious sunflower seed loaves; I remembered to soak my beans a night before making a fantastic hearty chicken and vegetable stew – I underestimated how much I was making though, and now I have 6 large containers (4 frozen) filled with stew to keep me going for weeks. I’m also in the process, it’s a long process and I’m currently on day 3 of 4, of making brandade de morue – a spread of cod and mashed potato. Today, I found some early rhubarb at the super market and found some strawberries in the fridge that needed rescuing, so I made some rhubarb-strawberry compote with a serious dose of vanilla bean.

As you may know, I’m starting a real job next week! That’s why I’m squeezing in as much cooking as possible before I’ll be too busy throughout the week. Anyway, the recipe that I’m sharing today is a salad that I’ve made a number of times now because it’s just so good. The inspiration for my salad came from the first recipe in NOPI, an Ottolenghi and Scully book that I bought a signed (!!!) copy of in celebration of getting a job. Actually, I didn’t even read the recipe, I just saw a picture of juicy slices of eggplant.

This salad has everything a salad should have – bite from the arugula, sweetness from the strawberries, nutty crunchiness from the pine nuts, tanginess from the pomegranate-balsamic reduction, and obviously the creamy and sometimes crunchy baked eggplant.

Trial and Error