Sep 03 2008

Eclectic Kitchen™: Eggplant A Cosmopolitan Fruit?


Italian or Baby Eggplant

Italian or Baby Eggplant

This is a must read – for those looking for a

fabulous hors d’oeuvre, a hearty side dish, or a wonderful

vegetable main course.  With a little modification, it

could be a fully vegan entrée – so look no further.

Filling? Yes it is. Meaty? Uh huh.

Flavor? Out of this world, delicious!

Right now, is the peak season for……eggplant.

 









Sliced Eggplant With Tomatoes

Sliced Eggplant With Tomatoes

Eggplant is related to the tomato and potato


as part of the nightshade family.

It is actually a fruit, specifically a berry,

though it is referred to as a vegetable. 

In this recipe, I used the smaller

Italian or baby eggplant. I find that it has

a better flavor. This is just a great simple

recipe for the fall and it would be an easy

recipe to take tailgating, as well. Just make

sure you cut up the eggplant just prior to

using it so that it doesn’t discolor. In this

recipe I call for rosemary & garlic goat cheese

but feel free to substitute any flavors

that you like. We’re fortunate, we get our

goat cheese direct from the farmer who raises

the goats and handmakesthe cheese in all

kinds of delicious flavors,

it really is magnificent.

If you’re interested in an organic

source such as ours, I suggest your local

or state farmer’s market to help you locate one

or you can go to localharvest.org, as well. Mangiamo!







Sliced Eggplant & Tomatoes

Sliced Eggplant & Tomatoes






Grilled Eggplant Neopolitans

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TBS minced fresh rosemary leaves

1 TBS minced fresh basil leaves
Freshly Ground Sea Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 baby or Italian eggplants
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 pound rosemary & garlic goat cheese, crumbled (Substitute soy-based cheese alternate to create vegan entrée)

 

Optional – shredded mozzarella to top off

Prepare the grill so that the temperature on 1 side is hotter and the other is just medium-low. If you cannot do this, then get the temperature to medium and really watch your veggies closely.

Whisk together the vinegar, rosemary, basil then salt and pepper, to taste. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. ***

Wash the eggplant and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices. Cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/3-inch slices. Place the vegetables on a tray or in a bowl and brush generously with the dressing.

Grill the eggplant until it’s just cooked, on the hotter side of the grill, 3 to 5 minutes per side, brush with more yummy dressing. Grill the tomato slices for 1 minute per side. Transfer the vegetables to a tray as they finish grilling.

Arrange stacks of vegetables on the cooler side of the grill: start with the eggplant, add a slice of tomato, then add some crumbled goat cheese. Then layer in reverse with the eggplant ending on top with a small dollop of goat cheese and a bit of mozzarella if you opted for it. Cover the grill and cook the stacks 2 to 4 more minutes or until the cheese melts. Voila! You have a meal or a fabulous snack!

***Sidenote – this vinaigrette is also wonderful on all kinds of salads. You simply must try it.


Grilled Eggplant Neopolitans w/Tomato, Goat Cheese & Mozarella

Grilled Eggplant Neopolitans w/Tomato, Goat Cheese & Mozarella




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