Fennel Eggplant Walnut And Tomato Salad

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounce fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 ounces red onion, sliced in crescents
1/3 cup walnut pieces, loosely packed
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups lettuce leaves, torn
1/2 pound eggplant in 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup chopped tomato

Dressing: 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
Pinch fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons Greek cheese (optional)

Heat one third of the oil in a skillet and add the fennel and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until just soft but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a salad bowl.

Add a small amount of oil to the skillet, then stir in the walnut pieces and sauté for about 2 minutes, until crisp and browned but not burnt. Sprinkle with pepper and remove with a slotted spoon to the salad bowl.

Add the lettuce, half the herbs and half the tomatoes to the salad bowl.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet, then add the eggplant and cook over a moderate heat until tender and browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add remaining basil, cilantro and tomatoes; sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Continue to cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Whisk together the vinegar, honey, thyme and oil until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the eggplant mixture is ready to serve, transfer to the salad bowl. Toss the salad and top with the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature with a Greek cheese.

Serves 2 to 3 as a main course.

From fooddownunder.com.

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