I live for the day when heirloom tomatoes appear at the farmers market. I’m a bit of a tomato fiend — I’m sorry, but a sandwich is just not a sandwich without tomato — but nothing beats a fresh, local, funky-looking heirloom tomato. I love them so much that I spent $12 on them at the farmers market. And it will be worth every penny, believe me!
My go-to with an heirloom is a simple caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, but this week I found a delicious-looking recipe for Eggplant, Tomato, and Feta Cheese Napoleans (courtesy of Emeril). Um, yes please!
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, and I found some adorable little purple and white specimens at Whole Foods that I couldn’t pass up. Roasted with balsamic vinegar and stacked with goat cheese, tomatoes and basil oil…oh wow. Not only does it look impressive, I think I could eat this for every meal this week. I opted for goat cheese instead of feta — good choice, if I don’t say so myself.
Seriously — how amazing does that look? I outdid myself on this one.
Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Cheese Napolean
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 2 large tomatoes, cored
To make the pesto oil, pulse the basil and garlic in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until well blended. Season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly.
To make the napoleons, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Cut the eggplant crosswise into 12 slices about 1/4 inch thick. Mix 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Add the eggplant slices and toss to coat. Season with the salt and pepper.
Place the eggplant on a baking sheet in one layer and bake until soft, turning once, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
In a small bowl, combine the cheese, basil, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Slice each tomato crosswise into 4 slices about 1/3 inch thick. Place 1 eggplant slice on a salad plate. Top with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture, then a tomato slice. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of pesto oil over the tomato, then top with another tablespoon of cheese. Repeat with an other eggplant slice, 1 tablespoon cheese, a tomato slice, and 1 teaspoon pesto oil. Finish with a final eggplant slice, another tablespoon of cheese, and a drizzle of pesto oil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Serve at room temperature, with pesto oil drizzled around each napoleon.
Yield: 4 servings