As fall gets underway, this is a flavorful twist on your standard tomato mozzarella salad, with some cured eggplant to add zing and depth. The eggplant can be made in advance, or you can let it sit while you prep the other ingredients.
Put the julienned eggplant into a small colander. Cover the eggplant in salt and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. Squeeze the eggplant until all the water is removed and then repeat, salting and squeezing every few minutes until the eggplant has no liquid left. Rinse the eggplant with water to remove the salt and then pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel. To finish, mix ½ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar with the eggplant.
Toss the tomatoes and mozzarella together, then drizzle 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes and mozzarella. Arrange the eggplant on top of the salad. If using basil, place the sprig on top to add color and flavor.