Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Eggplant Caprese

 

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Here is a twist on a summertime favorite – Caprese Salad.  When tomatoes are ripe and delicious, I can eat them every day, topped with fresh mozzarella and spicy basil drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.  There is a reason that the Caprese is so popular.  The flavors are perfect companions, but I’m not always in the mood for a salad.   So I’ve taken the traditional caprese salad, added thinly sliced eggplant , drizzled with an herby balsamic vinaigrette and roasted it in a hot oven to golden deliciousness.  I was not disappointed and neither was my husband, who ate more than half of it, going back three times for more.

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Eggplant is usually fried before baking, adding an additional step, more pans to wash and extra calories, all of which I try to avoid.  In this preparation,  I sliced the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds instead of the traditional 1/2 inch, to make sure it gets cooked through.  Sometimes thicker slices of eggplant can be chewy unless it’s cooked or stewed for a long time.  I also salted the eggplant on papertowels on one side for fifteen minutes then turned them over onto fresh papertowels and salted again for another fifteen. It’s amazing how much water is drawn out of them!   Of course, you can always go the traditional route and fry them first which removes the excess water and cooks them at least half way.  Regardless, this is my new summertime favorite and I’m pretty sure it will be yours too…

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TIPS:  If you still end up with extra liquid during cooking in spite of your valiant efforts to salt the eggplant, you can remove some of the liquid with a turkey baster.  Don’t remove too much though because you don’t want everything to dry out.  Another option would be to layer everything over a bed of tomato sauce which will incorporate excess liquid.

In case you’re wondering, those little leaves are  Basil Fine Verde (or Fino Verde) which I am growing in containers on my porch here in Maine.  This kind of basil is sweet and spicy and has small leaves which don’t need to be chopped which is kind of nice.

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ROASTED EGGPLANT CAPRESE

1 globe eggplant
2-3 ripe tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsn fresh oregano or thyme (1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

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  • Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, place them in a single layer on papertowels and sprinkle salt liberally over them to draw out the excess water.  Let sit for about 15 minutes, replace the papertowels and salt the other side for another 15 minutes.  Then wipe off excess salt and water droplets and place in a large bowl.

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  • Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl.  Pour half of the mixture over the eggplant slices and gently stir until all the pieces are coated.

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  • Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch rounds

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  • Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch rounds.

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  • Oil a baking dish and start arranging the slices into two rows, if using a rectangular baking dish, or in circles if using a round baking dish.

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  •  Alternate eggplant slices with mozzarella and tomato.  If you have very small eggplant or tomato slices, use two.

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  • Complete second row until eggplant and tomatoes are used up.  Drizzle the rest of the marinade over the top taking care to get the tomato slices.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 450.  Turn oven to broil for about 10 minutes, or until tops are browned.

 

  • Top with fresh basil.

Roasted Eggplant Caprese

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 globe eggplant
2-3 ripe tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsn balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsn fresh oregano or thyme (1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  • Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds, place them in a single layer on papertowels and sprinkle salt liberally over them to draw out the excess water.  Let sit for about 15 minutes, replace the papertowels and salt the other side for another 15 minutes.  Then wipe off excess salt and water droplets and place in a large bowl.
  • Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl.  Pour half of the mixture over the eggplant slices and gently stir until all the pieces are coated.
  • Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch rounds
  • Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch rounds.
  • Oil a baking dish and start arranging the slices into two rows, if using a rectangular baking dish, or in circles if using a round baking dish.  Alternate eggplant slices with mozzarella and tomato.  If you have very small eggplant or tomato slices, use two.
  • Complete second row until eggplant and tomato is used up.
  • Drizzle the rest of the marinade over the top taking care to get the tomato slices.  Bake 30 minutes at 400.
  • Turn oven to broil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tops are browned.
  • Top with fresh basil.

4 thoughts on “Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Eggplant Caprese

  1. Joyce. Do not think my message went through. If it did, I will be repeating that I loved eggplant recipe. Hope to try it in cooler weather. Wishing you & Jackson safe trip to L A. & much good luck. Look forward to hearing all about this adventure when you return.

    Love & kisses, B

    Like

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