Fresh market tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese and crispy eggplant make for one of the simplest summer pleasures.
This salad highlights three of my favourite foods: eggplant, tomato and cheese. This salad was so good, I could have eaten it every day of the summer. Sadly, I ran out of eggplant – but I did eat it two nights in a row, which is very unusual for me. I don’t like leftovers or having the same thing over and over, but this salad was different.
This salad came to be kinda by accident actually. I knew I wanted a tomato and mozzarella salad for dinner, something nice and fresh. But when I opened my vegetable drawer, this little eggplant was looking at me sadly and was on the last stages of its life. I knew I had to use it up quickly, but couldn’t decide how. I realized the eggplant and my tomatoes were about the same size and that is how this dish was born.
CH is back in Canada for 3.5 weeks, however he was still able to ‘share’ this dish with me. I was chatting with him on Skype (btw – Skype is the greatest invention since the computer, IMO) and his jaw literally dropped when I came wondering into the room with this gorgeous looking creation. He immediately instructed me to photograph it for the blog, but I couldn’t wait any longer and devoured it immediately (sorry, I know that’s so wrong of me as a food blogger!). However, as I mentioned above, it wasn’t long before this was on my table again, and this time I made sure to nibble away before plating it, just so I could get through photographing it!
Anyways, I hope you enjoy this dish soon. If you aren’t a fan of eggplant, simply omit it. But with tomato season upon us, don’t omit this one from your repertoire.
The Perfect Stack – Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 – 10 minutes
For the Eggplant:
- 1/2 small eggplant
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 – 3 TBSP vegetable oil
For the Salad:
- 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (or however thick you like)
- 3 slices of mozzarella, about 1/4 of a ball, sliced into desired thickness
- 3 small leaves of basil
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar reduction
- 1 TSP olive oil (optional)
** TIP: To make the balsamic reduction, simply heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the vinegar to reduce by half, or until it coats the back of a spoon **
For the Eggplant:
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with garlic cloves (switch garlic halves about half-way through).
Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl. One by one, place each piece of eggplant into the flour, press down lightly to coat the eggplant evenly. Tap lightly to remove extra flour.
Heat a large frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until glistening.
Add the eggplant slices and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Keep careful watch as not to burn them. If they brown too quickly, lower the heat.
Flip each slice over and cook the other side, until nice and crisp (and golden brown).
Remove from frying pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess oil.
To Assemble the Salad:
Place a piece of the fried eggplant on your plate, top with a slice of mozzarella, 1 leaf of basil and a slice of tomato. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up.
Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of olive oil (if desired).
A JBean French Cuisine Original Recipe