I know the late blight has made this a tough year to grow (or buy) good tomatoes in the northeast. For those of you living in affected areas, I offer my sincere condolences and recommend that you make a mental note to try this recipe next year as I know you'll love it.
Here in northern Cali, it seems that we've been lucky enough to dodge the blight bullet, judging by the beautiful tomatoes we've been receiving in our box and that I see at all the local farmers markets.The eggplants my husband and I have been receiving from Eatwell in each produce box are also incredible -- they're quite sweet and have a nice nutty taste, too. It's also been a good year for their basil crop -- the sprigs we've received are both tender and flavorful.These grilled stacks are a wonderful marriage of flavors. If you don't have a grill, you could also make them by roasting in the oven. Try to find the sweetest tomatoes you can!
Grilled Eggplant Stacks With Tomato, Feta & Basil
Serves 4 as a light lunch or first course
* 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 medium eggplants (1 3/4 to 2 lb total)
* 1 large tomato (about 4 inches in diameter) and 2 medium tomatoes (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
* 3 oz feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
* Finely shredded fresh basil leaves for garnish
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Sea salt
1. Blend basil with oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in blender until finely chopped. Pour into a paper-towel- or coffee-filter-lined sieve set over a bowl and let drain 20 minutes. Gather together sides of towel or filter and press gently on it to extract more oil. (You will have a generous 1/3 cup oil.) Reserve 1 tablespoon basil oil separately for serving. Scrape basil solids into a small bowl and reserve.
2. Prepare grill for cooking over medium-heat. While grill heats, cut off bottoms of eggplants, then cut 6 (1/2-inch-thick) crosswise rounds from each, starting from cut end. Reserve remaining eggplant for another use. Cut 4 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds from large tomato and 2 center slices (1/3 inch thick) from each medium tomato, reserving remaining tomato for another use.
3. Lightly brush eggplant rounds on both sides with basil oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill on a lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over occasionally, lightly brushing eggplant with more basil oil occasionally if it looks dry, until eggplant is very tender, 6 to 10 minutes. (Leave gas grill on.)
4. Make the stacks -- on a baking pan, arrange the 4 largest eggplant rounds side by side and spread each with a generous 1/2 teaspoon of reserved basil solids, then top each with 1 of the 4 largest tomato rounds. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and top each with about 1 tablespoon feta. Make another layer with medium-size eggplant rounds, basil solids, medium tomato rounds, salt, pepper, and feta, then top with remaining eggplant and feta.
5. Set baking pan on grill and cook stacks, with grill cover closed, until heated through and cheese on top is softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer stacks to 4 plates and drizzle plates with reserved basil oil.A few more recipes you might like:
- Grilled Summer Squash
- Niçoise Salad
- Provençal Vegetable Tian
- Tomato Corn Pie With Butter-Brushed Biscuit Crust