* EGGPLANT MOZZARELLA TOWER

WINE PAIRING – MERLOT ARBOLEDA  COLCHAQUA VALLEY CHILE

MARINARA SAUCE
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
1/2 teaspoon chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

EGG PLANTS
2 to 3 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (approximately 18)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick (approximately 18 slices)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 broccoli spean broken into florettes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

GARNISH
Basil leaves

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 F
For marinara, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm oil and sauté onion for 4 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté, stirring continually. Do not brown. Add tomatoes and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Next dip each slice in egg, then in the bread crumbs. Set aside.

In a large skillet heat vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Sauté eggplant one slice at a time until golden brown.

Place the cooked slices on a baking sheet, top each with a tomato slice and sprinkle  with mozzarella. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and cheese is melted.

In a small saucepan, simmer vinegar until it’s reduced by about two-thirds and reaches a syrup consistency. Set aside to cool.

Steam the broccoli florets for 3 minutes.  In a small saucepan melt butter. Just before serving, dip the broccoli into butter to coat.

To serve, stack three eggplant/tomato slices on each plate. Garnish with a broccoli floret and basil. Spoon marinara around eggplant tower and drizzle with Balsamic reduction.

Serves 6.

CULINARY NOTES:
Most eggplants produce a bitter-tasting alkaloid. A method for removing this unwanted flavor is to sprinkle the slices with salt and let them rest in a colander for an hour.  Afterwards, rinse the slices under cold water gently squeezing out the moisture. Pressing on the slices also collapses the eggplant’s air pockets, reducing the absorption of oil during frying.

* We would like to thank Royal Caribbean for giving us permission to post this recipe from their Savor RCCL International Cookbook

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