recipe: eggplant, tomato and fresh mozzerella napoleons
My husband Chris is obsessed with eggplant. During football season he makes numerous batches of Marc Bittman's delicious eggplant dip from How to Cook Everything. A new football-watching favorite is from his boss who is Italian; he shared his recipe for breaded eggplant "cutlets" that he serves hot with wedges of lemon – pretty divine, too. Well, we had an eggplant in our CSA box and it was just staring at me every time I opened the fridge. Since Chris LOVES eggplant, I thought I would showcase it for our lunch last weekend. Taking the simplicity of flavors in Bittman's dip with the crispy-creamy ying and yang of the cutlets, I came up with these "napoleons." I got two thumbs up from my eggplant connoisseur, which in my book is a success. I hope you like them too!
Eggplant, Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Napoleons
1 clove garlic, peeled – cut one end off
1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced into ½-inch disks
1 large slicing tomato, sliced into ½-inch disks
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced into ½-inch disks
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4-8 basil leaves
Sea salt for garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the pan is preheating, rub each eggplant cutlet with the cut end of the garlic clove. Add flour, a large pinch of salt and pepper to a Ziploc bag and shake the eggplant disks to lightly dust them with flour. Shake off excess flour and add a layer of eggplant to the pan – don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until dark golden brown and the interior yields gently to pressure. Drain on paper towels and cook other batch of eggplant in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
Layer the eggplant with a tomato slice (season with a pinch of salt and pepper), then 2 basil leaves and topped with mozzarella. Repeat layers once more and then drizzle with really, really good olive oil and pinch of flakey sea salt. Eat post haste.