Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatless Monday: Tomatoes and Eggplant, Please

Tomatoes and eggplant are in season, and they pair perfectly together. This Meatless Monday I will share with you a recipe for a delicious pasta dish from Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook and a recipe idea for grilled eggplant with tomato, basil, and mozzarella.

I say ”recipe idea“ because I don’t have the actual recipe. My sister has made this before, and it makes a wonderful main event for a vegetarian meal, served with salad and bread, or it can make a fabulous first course. I think this is easy to make, so I am going to describe the meal and how I think it should be prepared, then I’m going to make it for dinner sometime this week — I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Garden Vegetables, and Crumbled Blue Cheese
Blue cheese brings extra panache to this popular team of summer garden vegetables.
 Photograph © Sabra Krock, excerpted from
Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook
Ingredients
2 (7- to 8-inch) Chinese or Japanese eggplants, diagonally cut into 1-inch slices
Salt
12 ounces rotelle, penne, or other medium-size pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 green or red bell peppers, seeded and cut into ½-inch strips
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
10 plum or paste tomatoes or other firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and quartered
2 medium summer squash, diagonally cut into ½-inch slices
1 medium zucchini, diagonally cut into ½-inch slices
1½ teaspoons chopped summer savory
6 basil leaves, torn, plus 3 or 4 small sprigs for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4–6 ounces Roquefort, Stilton, Danish blue, or other blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or dill
Directions
  1. Layer the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling them with 2 tablespoons salt as you do. Leave the slices standing in the sink for 45 minutes, then rinse off the salt and pat dry.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt, and stir in the pasta. Boil the pasta for 8 minutes, or according to the package directions, until just al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant, peppers, onion, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium, and sautรฉ the vegetables for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. Add the summer savory and basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sautรฉ for 5 to 6 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, stirring and raising the heat if necessary to cook the vegetables briskly. Stir in the vinegar, and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Serve the pasta on a large platter with the sautรฉed vegetables piled on top. Scatter the blue cheese over the vegetables. Garnish with the chives or dill.
SERVES 4

Grilled Eggplant with Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella
My sister, a vegetarian, has made this in summers past. Now that both tomatoes and eggplant are in season, I am expecting an invitation to this meal soon. Please note that this is a recipe from memory. See below for a link to a similar but actual recipe.
Ingredients
Eggplant, sliced about 1/4" thick
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Tomatoes, sliced 1/8"–1/4" thick
Pesto (optional)
Mozzarella, thin round slices
Shredded basil leaves
Fresh grated Parmesan (optional)
  1. Marinate eggplant in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Or you can use a balsamic vinaigrette for the marinade (homemade is best). Let sit in marinade 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high. If using grill pan, spray pan lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Place eggplant slices on grill. Flip when the bottoms are lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Cooking time can vary from grill to grill, so check frequently, and don’t burn your eggplant!
  4. Top eggplant slices with tomato slices. Brush with pesto if using. Top tomato with mozzarella. Close grill lid, let cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Remove from grill to a serving platter. Sprinkle with shredded basil and Parmesan.
  6. Serve warm.
Recipe for Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stacks
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Meatless Monday posts are my effort to pitch the idea of eating meatless one day or one meal a week — for health, for the well-being of animals, and for the environment. I encourage you to give it a try. I also suggest trying variations of these recipes with the produce you have on hand. Additionally, if you are not yet ready to go a full day meat-free, try using these veggie-packed recipes as the focus of your meal.

Our Meatless Monday Archives:
Braised Chard Pizza and Farmhouse Salad
Mini Frittatas and Shaved Zucchini Salad
Beet Soup, Roasted Plum Quesadillas, and Peach Kuchen

1 comment:

Jamie Woodside said...

I absolutely LOVE that cookbook! So many great recipes... its one of my favorites!!

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