For all my friends and family who actually read this blog…I am back! After a few month hiatus to quit my job, travel around Wisconsin and Europe, move to Chicago, pass a Calculus exam and begin Grad school, I am ready to start sharing my culinary adventures again with you all!
This summer I spent a good amount of time living with my parents, which I have to say was a pretty great gig! My dad has turned our backyard into a very bountiful mini-farm and most nights the three of us made dinner out of whatever was fresh/ready to eat that day.
Two of my dad’s most prolific veggies are eggplants and tomatoes. I personally think eggplant gets a bad rap too often, you can do so much with it if you just look around for a great recipe.
It was my night to make dinner, and though my dad was skeptical, I set out to make a Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart. And I am happy to report that he definitely went back for seconds!
To start, you prepare the crust for the tart.
I promise it is an easy one, so don’t freak out! All you do is combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Then dig a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add in the water and oil. Stir everything together until you have a soft dough, it will be a bit sticky. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and then form into a circle. Cover that with plastic wrap and let it chill for 15 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, you can prep the eggplant. Slice the eggplant and arrange on baking sheets. Sprinkle the slices with salt and let stand 15 minutes. This will draw out the water in the eggplant, which you then pat dry.
Now back to the dough! One your dough has chilled, place it on your lightly floured surface and cover with nice big sheets of plastic wrap. Now using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a circle, about 10-11 inches. Once done, place the dough into a tart or pie pan coated with cooking spray. Make sure to prick the dough with a fork in a few places, honestly, not sure why you do this, but just do it!
Bake the crust for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.
While the crust is cooling, brush your eggplant slices with olive oil. Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once they are done cooking, be careful as you stack them on top of each other on a plate. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them steam a bit.
As the eggplants steam, you can saute your other veggies for the tart. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Start by cooking the garlic and onions for a bit. Then add in the tomatoes, salt, basil and oregano and cook for just a minute.
Now it’s time to assemble the tart! Sprinkle the tart with two tablespoons of shredded mozzarella and then layer on the tomato mixture and eggplant. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan.
Bake the tart for just 10-15 minutes at 400º.
To serve, just cut into 8 pieces and plate!
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart (adapted from Cooking Light)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 6 ounces)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400°.
For the crust, combine the flours, wheat germ, baking powder and salt in a bowl with a whisk. Make a well at the center of your mixture and then add the water and oil. Stir until you have soft dough. Lightly flour a flat surface and knead the dough lightly and then press the dough into a circle. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 15 minutes.
Unwrap the dough on plastic wrap and then cover with another sheet. Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough out into a 10-11 inch circle. Coat a tart pan with cooking spray and then put the dough in the pan and press into the bottom and sides. Poke the dough with a fork. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 400°. Let cool completely.
To prepare the eggplant, arrange it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels then brush with olive oil. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. When done cooking, stack on a plate and cover the eggplant with plastic wrap; letting it steam for about 7 minutes.
While the eggplant is steaming, heat a large skillet and coat with cooking spray. Add in garlic, cook for 1 minute and then stir in tomatoes, pepper and onion, cooking until tender. Then remove from heat and add in basil and oregano. Sprinkle with sea salt.
To finish off the tart, sprinkle the cooled crust with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Layer in the eggplant and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake the tart for 10 minutes at 400° for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
Yields 8 servings