Eating My Way Through

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stacks with Basil Polenta June 29, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 10:55 am
Tags: , ,

For this meal I once again had some guest cooks. My high school friends Brendan and Emma graced me with a visit last weekend, and since Brendan previously requested to be on the blog, I thought I would indulge him!

Brendan, Me and Emma

Brendan, Me and Emma

Since Brendan has been a vegetarian forever, and Emma has since started to embrace the lifestyle too, we decided on making eggplant, tomato and mozzarella stacks on a bed of basil polenta. If you follow the link to the recipe below, you will see we changed it up a bit to make a quicker, easier version, since all three of us were starving!

This was a great meal for a dinner party or small group dinner, I am not sure how it would re-heat if you had leftover, so something to keep in mind if you decide to give it a try.

You start by slicing up the eggplant and tomatoes, grating the Parmesan and slicing the mozzarella.

Take the eggplant slices and place on a pan, brushing both sides with olive oil and sprinkling with salt.

Eggplant

Eggplant

Let those broil for about 4 minutes on each side until brown.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the tomato slices with balsamic vinegar.

One the eggplant is done, adjust the temp of the oven to 375° and assemble the stacks in the order of eggplant, mozza, tomato, mozza, and then one last tomato.

Assembled Stacks

Assembled Stacks

Let the cheese melt for about 15 minutes.

While the cheese is melting, make the polenta. Bring 2 cups water to boil. Whisk in the polenta gradually and continue whisking for about 6 minutes. I was lucky enough to have a helper, who didn’t complain at all about the job he was given…

Brendan Stirring the Polenta

Brendan Stirring the Polenta

Once the polenta has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and margarine/butter, then stir in the basil and set aside.

Basil Polenta

Basil Polenta

When the cheese has melted between the layers of the stacks, remove from them from the oven.

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stack

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stack

To finish up, divide the polenta (about 1/4 cup) and stacks (about 2) among 4 plates.

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stacks with Basil Polenta

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stacks with Basil Polenta

Sprinkle with oregano or top with a basil leaf to finish everything off!

Emma loved this dish as did I, but Brendan didn’t chime in with warm praise, so I am a little skeptical of his feelings. But still, I would definitely make this again if I was feeding a bunch of people. I also think the stacks would be great as an appetizer sans polenta, as the flavors are a proven great combination!

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stacks with Basil Polenta (adapted from Bon Appétit)

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup basil, fresh and chopped

2 large Chinese eggplants, each cut into 1/2 inch strips

Olive oil for brushing eggplant

4 large plum tomatoes,  cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling on tomatoes

Dried oregano

1 7 3/4-ounce package small fresh mozzarella balls in water, drained

Directions:

Pre-heat your broiler

Place sliced eggplant on baking sheet, brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt

Broil until brown, about 4 minutes per side

While the eggplant are broiling, sprinkle tomato slices with balsamic vinegar

When eggplant are done broiling, remove from oven and adjust temperature to 375°

Top each eggplant with 1/3-inch think slice of mozzarella, then 1 tomato slice, then 1 more slice of mozzarella, and then another tomato slice

Place back in oven until cheese melts, about 15 minutes

While the cheese is melting, bring 2 cups of water with some salt to a boil and gradually whisk cornmeal into boiling water and reduce heat to medium-low

Keep whisking polenta constantly for about 6 minutes or until it is nice and thick then remove from the heat

Stir in cheese and butter, then stir in basil

Remove eggplant and tomato stacks from the oven

Plate dish with about 1/4 cup polenta and 2 stacks per serving, sprinkle with oregano if desired

Yields 4 servings

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One Response to “Eggplant, Tomato and Mozza Stacks with Basil Polenta”

  1. xoxo Says:

    GREAT pictures….this is something you will have to make for us….providing we have egglant from the mini-farm!


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