EGGPLANT, HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND MOZZARELLA STACKS (from finecooking.com)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices heirloom tomatoes (from 3 to 4 medium)
- 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices eggplant (from 1 medium eggplant)
- 2 balls buffalo mozzarella (5 to 7 oz. each), cut into 8 slices
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, thyme, marjoram, lemon zest, red pepper flakes (if using), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
Brush the tomato and eggplant slices with 1 Tbs. of the herb oil. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Marinate the mozzarella in the remaining oil.
Grill the eggplant, flipping once, until nicely browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, put a tomato slice on four plates. Top each with a slice of eggplant, then a slice of mozzarella. Repeat, ending with a tomato slice. Drizzle with any remaining oil and serve.
RATATOUILLE (rat-tat-too-ee) (thanks to the Food Network for the proportions and basic directions)
Ratatouille is known as the quintessential poor man’s meal. It’s super simple in its preparation and can vary in its ingredients.
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
- at least 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups medium diced eggplant, with skin on
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 cups diced summer squash (patty pan will do just as well as zucchini, though zucchini is typically called for)
- 1 1/2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
- if you want to remove the skin, simply pour very hot water over the tomatoes and the skin should slip of when you pinch it
- 2 cups diced bell peppers OPTIONAL
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tbsp parsley
- salt and ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated (amount depends on your taste!)
- cilantro, for garnish on top
Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature. If you like, either sprinkle each serving generously with the Parmesan cheese, or put the ratatouille in a a baking dish and sprinkle that generously, and let it broil until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Also, if you fancy, this tastes great with a cilantro garnish.