I received a new cookbook in the mail recently (from Food and Wine), and there were a couple of recipes in particular that stood out to me that I HAD to prepare soon. I made both of these last week, and they were both SO good, that I’m preparing them again – one week later.
Now that it’s warm (in Atlanta) it’s time to dust off the grill – this lightened up version of Eggplant Parmigiana calls for grilling the eggplant AND the sliced fresh tomatoes prior to baking in the oven. If you don’t have access to a grill, you can of course bake on a cookie sheet prior to assembling both the eggplant and the tomatoes but grilling gives both so much more flavor!
Grilled Eggplant Parmegiana
Frenchie Butter Lettuce Salad
A great Cabernet Sauvingnon (like Sextant – see below)
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
(Adapted from Food and Wine)
1 large eggplant or 2 small (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 large plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1/3 cup chopped green olives
1 tsp Dried Red Pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely shredded basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
6 oz Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Crusty bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F; and heat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant and tomato slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt.
Grill the eggplant in batches over moderately high heat, turning once, until softened and lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Grill the tomatoes, turning once, until lightly charred but still intact, about 2 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the olives, chiles and shredded basil.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In the center, arrange half of the eggplant in a 9-inch square, overlapping the slices slightly.
Top with half of the grilled tomatoes, olive mixture and Fontina and parmesan.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses.
Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread.
Frenchie Salad with Butter Lettuce
(Adapted from Food and Wine)
PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS
2 TBSP yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
4 oz grape tomatoes (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup plus 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP orange juice
4 slices of thick-cut bacon (4 ounces ), cut into 1-inch dice or strips
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
4 heads of Little Gem or baby romaine lettuce (1 pound), leaves separated
Chopped chives, for garnish
PICKLE THE MUSTARD SEEDS
In a small saucepan, combine the mustard seeds and vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F;. In a small ovenproof skillet or baking dish, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Roast for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have popped and are browned or charred in spots; cool a bit.
Transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients; puree until smooth.
In a small skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. ***Or cook in the microwave. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
In a small bowl, blend the blue cheese with the creme fraiche until smooth.
Dollop the mixture onto plates and spread slightly.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with half of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lettuce on top of the blue cheese mixture. Garnish with the pickled mustard seeds, bacon and chives. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
And tonight’s wine pairing (sooooo yummy!):