Burst media_leaderboard

Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eggplant and Herbed Goat's Cheese Stacks


So there are quite a few of you who have been asking for some (ahem) "non creamy" dishes that are a little lighter as you try to fit into your New Year's resolution work out clothing.  Maybe this one will give you some ideas.  Eggplant, known also as Aubergine is found in many vegetarian cookbooks as a meat substitute,and has also been called the "poor man's cutlet" because it can be quite meaty in texture.  I adapted this recipe from one found in the Everyday Vegetarian Cookbook.  I love the tangy flavor of goat cheese, but you can feel free to substitute slices of soft mozzarella for the goat cheese if you prefer.
                           Click for Printable Recipe
Ingredients:  
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small eggplants (aubergines)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 oz goat cheese with herbs
  • 8 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sun-dried tomato relish
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of Parmigiano reggiano cheese (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp (rounded) basil leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

The sun dried tomato relish is really a great recipe all on it's own, even if you don't make the eggplant; and it would be a great meatless topping for pasta or on a crusty piece of bread as a quick bruschetta.  But as a topping for the eggplant and goat cheese, the bright tangy flavors in the relish cut through the richness of the dish.

Step-by-Step:
Make the relish first... Throw all the ingredients in a small food processor and whirl away until you have a lovely paste.  That's it!
sun dried tomatoes
garlic
white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
basil leaves
Parmigiano Reggiano
Sun dried tomato relish... in a piggy!
Now for the eggplant:
Mix the oil and garlic together.  Either crush the garlic first, or crush it INTO the oil as I have done here.  This is a molcajete (mol-Kah-HeT-ay) (see Food Nerd Notes at bottom) that I picked up in Mexico on a recent trip where I watched this little man known as "the scorpion" make them on a foot-turned potter's wheel, then fire them in a homemade kiln in his back yard.  Quite amazing.  He made the adorable little piggy dish, as well.
Cut each eggplant into six 1/2 inch slices, then cut each tomato into four 1/2 inch slices. 

Cut the goat cheese into eight 1/2 inch slices.

Brush the eggplant with half of the oil mixture.  Heat a saute pan and cook the eggplant in batches for 3 - 4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm.


 

Brush the tomato with the remaining oil mixture.  Cook for 1 minute each side, or until sealed and warmed through. (Yes, Mom... I can see you frowning.) Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble, place an eggplant slice on each plate.  Top with a slice of tomato, then a basil leaf and a slice of cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to give two layers, then finish with a third piece of eggplant.  Add a dollop of the sun dried tomato relish and a basil leaf.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Note:  
This beautiful pottery dish is a Donna Vosburg piece from Lov Pottery.  All of her pieces are unique, with no two being the same.  You can view her pieces at http://www.lovpottery.com/index.html.  Please tell her where you got her name, if you contact her.


Method:
Make the relish first... Throw all the ingredients in a small food processor and whirl away until you have a lovely paste.  That's it!

Now for the eggplant:
Mix the oil and garlic together.  Either crush the garlic first, or crush it INTO the oil.  Cut each eggplant into six 1/2 inch slices, then cut each tomato into four 1/2 inch slices.  Cut the goat cheese into eight 1/2 inch slices.  Brush the eggplant with half of the oil mixture.  Heat a saute pan and cook the eggplant in batches for 3 - 4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm.  Brush the tomato with the remaining oil mixture.  Cook for 1 minute each side, or until sealed and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.


To assemble, place an eggplant slice on each plate.  Top with a slice of tomato, then a basil leaf and a slice of cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to give two layers, then finish with a third piece of eggplant.  Add a dollop of the sun dried tomato relish and a basil leaf.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Food Nerd Notes:
A molcajete is a stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle, used for grinding various food products. The molcajete was used by pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztec and Maya, stretching back several thousand years. The matching hand-held grinding tool is known as a tejolote. Molcajetes are used to crush and grind spices, prepare salsas and guacomole. The rough surface of the basalt stone creates a superb grinding surface that maintains itself over time as tiny bubbles in the basalt are ground down, replenishing the textured surface. As the porous basalt is impossible to fully clean and sanitize, molcajetes are known to "season" (much like cast iron skillets), carrying over flavors from one preparation to another. Salsas and guacamole prepared in molcajetes are known to have a distinctive texture, and some also carry a subtle difference in flavor, from those prepared in blenders. Molcajetes can also be used as a cooking tool, where it is heated to a high temperature using an open fire or hot coals, and then used to heat its food contents. Molcajetes are also used as serving dishes in restaurants and homes. While recipes are usually not stewed or otherwise cooked in them, the molcajete stays hot for a very long time, and it is not unusual for a dish to still be bubbling a half hour after serving.
Here's his "mud" that he got from the riverbank behind his house.
Molding the mud.


His foot-turned potter's wheel.
The still wet molcajete. This must be thoroughly dried in a dark, cool place for several days.
The dried bowl/vessels are fired in his kiln.
These are cooling.
I'm a happy customer!  So cool to have a piece of his work after seeing them being made.
His stamp, made from an actual scorpion.  This gets fired, the scorpion gets vaporized, and then the stamp can be pressed in the wet clay as his signature.  Fascinating.


Method:
Make the relish first... Throw all the ingredients in a small food processor and whirl away until you have a lovely paste.  That's it!
Now for the eggplant:
Mix the oil and garlic together.  Either crush the garlic first, or crush it INTO the oil.  Cut each eggplant into six 1/2 inch slices, then cut each tomato into four 1/2 inch slices.  Cut the goat cheese into eight 1/2 inch slices.  Brush the eggplant with half of the oil mixture.  Heat a saute pan and cook the eggplant in batches for 3 - 4 minutes each side, or until golden.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm.  Brush the tomato with the remaining oil mixture.  Cook for 1 minute each side, or until sealed and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble, place an eggplant slice on each plate.  Top with a slice of tomato, then a basil leaf and a slice of cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to give two layers, then finish with a third piece of eggplant.  Add a dollop of the sun dried tomato relish and a basil leaf.  Serve immediately. Serves 4.

 
Want more great recipes?
Please visit my Recipe Index for tons of ideas that you can cook with/for you family!   Here are a few to get you started:








3 comments:

  1. so very cool, love the photos.
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your stacks look so delicious! I'd love for you to submit them to Vegolicious, a photo gallery of the best vegetarian food on the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These look amazing - totally elegant, and delicious! :)

    ReplyDelete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest