tomato

Grilled Eggplant Stacks w/Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

A perfect summer lunch, appetizer, or dinner side… grilled eggplant stacks with fresh mozzarella and colorful heirloom tomatoes.  A gardener’s treat… the tomatoes and thyme are both fresh from my yard!  Yum.

These take a wee time to prepare, but they are simple and easy… foolproof really.  There’s no right or wrong way to make them… you can add or omit ingredients as you please and stack them any way you wish!  I chose to use little fresh thyme sprigs from my garden to hold them together, but you can opt for wooden skewers if you choose or simply place a little basil leaf on top and have no skewer at all.  I have to say though, the thyme sprigs add a mighty beautiful rustic flare I think.  :)

If you don’t have a grill, or would rather not use one, you can roast these in the oven instead.  Still sweat them in advance, so that you eliminate excess moisture and bitterness in the eggplant, but instead of grilling roast the eggplant at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping once half way through.  It won’t change them too much… you just won’t have the grill marks left behind from the cue.  :)

Makes approx. 6 stacks

INGREDIENTS

1 medium eggplant

2-3 large tomatoes, varied colors

1 large ball fresh mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

 

additionally, for grilling:

1/4 salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

olive oil

thyme sprigs or fresh basil leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Prep and preheat grill- medium-high heat is best
Cut eggplant into evenly thick slices, about 1/2 inch
Lay slices in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt- this will help them
sweat, bringing out excess moisture and bitterness
Let them sit for at least 20 minutes- you can prepare all of the other ingredients while they do their thing
In a large dish, add olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano
Mix well, spreading the marinade along the bottom surface of the dish
Slice tomatoes into even pieces, about the same size as the
eggplant slices- count to make sure you have one slice per eggplant slice and cut accordingly
Lay them in the balsamic marinade
Turn them to coat evenly- let sit while you prep the remaining ingredients
By now, the eggplant should have had enough
time to sweat- see the moisture built up on the surface there?!
Rinse each slice very well- this is important because you want to get
all of the bitterness that just came to the surface off of the slices!
Pat the eggplant slices dry
Lay them flat, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to season for grilling
Lay slices on preheated grill- a medium/high heat is best- you want those grill marks!
Cook for a few minutes on each side, until you see nice dark grill lines
(Keep the top on to during cooking)
Flip and repeat on the other side
Remove eggplant from grill and lay flat to cool
Meanwhile, slice mozzarella into pieces about the same size as tomatoes and eggplant- a little thinner is fine
(you need one slice per eggplant slice, so cut them accordingly)
If using thyme sprigs to hold stacks together, gather and
clean them- remove the leaves on the bottom of the sprigs to make clean “skewers”
Keep some greenery on the top- it’s pretty :)
Now it’s time to start assembling your stacks!
Pair up the eggplant slices so that you have one large slice for the
bottom of each stack and one smaller one for the tops
Lay one piece of marinated tomato on the bottom larger egg plant slices
Then top each tomato slice with a mozzarella slice
Top the cheese with the smaller eggplant slices
Then top the eggplant with the remaining tomatoes- I used one color
tomato for the bottom and the other for the top, but you can mix and match if you choose!
Then top the tomato with the last of the mozzarella… almost done!
If using fresh basil, top the cheese with little basil leaves to garnish…
If using thyme sprigs, place one in the center of each eggplant stack,
leaving the greenery sticking out from the top
Transfer the stacks to a serving platter
Spoon some of the leftover balsamic marinade onto each stack
That’s it!
Enjoy at room-temperature, warm, or chilled!!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!

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