Monday, September 20, 2010

Eggplant, Pesto and Mozzarella Napoleons

This should be my Summer of the eggplant, I've made so many eggplant dishes this year. I don't always have time to get all the recipes written, pictures taken etc to write a blog post about them. Here is one of them, it is a dish I will be using at Kitchen Conservatory later this week. At Kitchen Conservatory I will be using the dish as a starter course for a late summer Italian dinner. In this photo, I placed the Napoleon on top of some Angelhair pasta to make a large pasta dinner.

I admit I chose a pretty affected name for this dish, a Napoleon usually means layers of crisp puff pastry with pastry cream and fruit fillings with some sort of glaze over the top. Here layers of grilled eggplant are spread with pesto and layers of fresh mozzarella and glazed with roasted tomatoes and Balsamic vinaigrette. So if my pretentious name puts you off, just retitle the dish eggplant, pesto, and mozzarella stacks-but do try it because it is rich and tasty, but I still think Napoleon sounds sexier than Stacks-it's really tough being one of those "elitists" everyone seems to hate.

1 eggplant
1 pound fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil pesto
Roasted tomato vinaigrette

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.
Salt the slices and allow them to sit 1/2 hour, rinse well and dry with toweling.
Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and grill 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto onto an eggplant slice, top with a thin slice of mozzarella cheese, and another teaspoon of pesto; repeat until you have stacks of three eggplant slices each.
Place the Napoleons in a 350 degree pre-heated oven just to slightly melt and meld the cheese.
To serve:Spoon a couple of tomato wedges and the Balsamic vinaigrette over the Napoleons. Here I served the Napoleons over angelhair pasta, but you could omit the pasta and place it on some salad greens or just serve it on its own.


2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

3 large cloves of garlic

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse the leaves, garlic, nuts, and cheese until a crumbly coarse mixture develops. Drizzle in the oilve oil slowly, continually pulsing the machine-I like a chunky pesto. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar (optional, but I like my vinaigrette slightly sweet, if you want a totally tart vinaigrette, omit sugar).

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, cutside up, season the cut sides with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Strew fresh thyme over the seasoned tomatoes, drizzle the Balsamic over the tomatoes, finally drizzle the olive oil over them.

Roast the tomatoes in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

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