Friday, August 19, 2011

So, I Have All This Eggplant

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I've really been enjoying my CSA this year. I think that having farm fresh veggies delivered to your door is quite spiffy, and I've been meaning to try this out for a really long time. The only problem I've found is with the quantities of items I've been getting. I'll often be building up a stash of a certain vegetable, whereas another one is gone in what feels like mere moments.
I really don't go through that much garlic, and only three tomatoes? In August? How sad.

My partner in crime, Jenn, has been splitting the basket with me which has been great because it keeps the cost much more manageable. She also does not like Eggplant, and said that I could keep it all. Which, too, is great, except now I have all this Eggplant. And weirdly enough, I didn't get any zucchini so my initial plan of making Ratatouille went out of the window as soon as this weeks basket showed up.

So, I did what any obsessive home cook would do. I pulled out half my cookbooks and spent an hour and a half going through them all and marking out every Eggplant recipe. For every single recipe I found, I was missing at least one major ingredient. Since I have no intention of grocery shopping until the next paycheck comes in (thank you pasta stash), I discounted all of them and turned to the internet. Then, inspiration hit. I found a few people who had added Eggplant to a standard Caprese salad. It made sense... Eggplant and tomato tend to be great bedfellows. And since I had no mozzarella, what else to do but to use goat cheese. I've been really good. I haven't foisted a goat cheese recipe on you for ages. And from this, the Eggplant and Tomato Stack was born.

When John came into my life he brought with him three things; the ability for me to always wear heels without being concerned about my partners "height" issues, an insane cat named Leon, and a George Foreman Grill.I've never had access to an electric grill before and I must say that I am an absolute convert. It's delightfully simple, just plug it in, let it heat up, and throw something in there. John used to use it for chicken and fish, but I use it for veggies. I would be very sad if I didn't have one. I think I like it more than I like the cat, but that is probably because the grill doesn't wake me up at 6am by walking on my hair. If you don't have one (a grill, that is, not the cat...which is really unimportant in an Eggplant recipe), you can make the Eggplant on an outdoor grill, or just in a pan coated with a little non-stick cooking spray.

Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

I use goat cheese in this recipe, but you could easily substitute mozzarella and just sprinkle chopped basil between the layers.

1 Small Eggplant
1 Medium Beefsteak Tomato
4 Tbsp Goat Cheese
2 Large Basil Leaves, finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Slice the eggplant, skin and all, in large slices, about half an inch thick. I used an Eggplant that yielded me four slices. Heat up a grill or a pan with a little non-stick cooking spray. Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil and then sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Grill for about 5 minutes or so until each side has some color.

Meanwhile, soften the goat cheese a little by warming in a microwave for 10 seconds or so. You want it a little soft, then you can mix in the basil and a couple more grinds of pepper.

Slice the tomato so that you have two pretty thick slices. Then assemble the dish by laying down a slice of eggplant, a dollop of goat cheese, the tomato, another dollop of goat cheese, and then another slice of eggplant. Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on the top.

You can eat this on it's own, or serve it with some rice or some couscous for a nice little lunch. If you wanted to, you can do two tomato slices with some more goats cheese between them. This is a very adaptable recipe.... more of a schematic I think.

Makes 2 stacks.

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