Monday, July 19, 2010

Smashing Eggplants

It's Meatless Monday and I have a perfect little summer dish that uses up those fat eggplants taking up room in your vegetable drawer. What is it about eggplant? I can't resist that shiny purple skin - they just look so luscious! This is a dish I made up basically using ingredients that happened to be in my fridge, so I'd suggest that the variations are endless. I call it "Grilled Eggplant Cheese Pie". Here's my version:

You will need:
Eggplants, thinly sliced
Selection of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, garlic, s&p
Fresh basil
Cheese for centre layer (some kind of soft, fresh cheese or ricotta - I used Farmhouse fresh cheese & some gruyere)
Grated cheese for top (I used gruyere, asiago & parmesan)
Tomatoe sauce (your own or from a jar)

Thinly slice med-small eggplants longways. Salt and layer in strainer with a weight on top to express bitterness (Meanwhile, make a blueberry cake - ha! - that recipe to come in a future blog, cuz blueberry season is here!). After about 30-45 mins, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Lay out on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil that has been mixed with crushed garlic.

Roast eggplant slices on a hot barbecue until almost completely cooked. Roast a mixture of cherry tomatoes alongside. Spread a layer of tomatoes sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Layer grilled eggplant slices along bottom. Mix roasted tomatoes with fresh basil leaves and arrange on top of eggplant slices. Add freshly grated pepper & salt to taste. Add layer of cheese
Cover with another layer of roasted eggplant. Press down. Spread a layer of tomatoe sauce over all. Sprinkle top with a generous layer of grated cheese. Bake covered in foil in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or so until top browns or quickly finish under broiler. Let stand for 10-15 mins before serving.

It is smashing. Serve with a fresh green salad and garlic-asiago bread. Mmmmmmmm.

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