August 22, 2015. Anything goes. Any fresh, flavorful vegetable. The more the merrier. Whatever comes in your CSA farm share. Whatever you find at the Farmers Market. Really. Eggplant’s the great classic. But throw in some mushrooms, scallions and zucchini and you get a fantastic summer meal.
Completely light, flavorful and aromatic. Warm-weather vegetables in a satisfying, body-cooling dish. A salad with gooey mozzarella dressed up to look like Summer Eggplant Parmigiana. Great at room temperature or even slightly chilled. The light, luscious, aromatic vegetarian dish of the month.
The zucchini and mushroom slices are soft but firm. The scallions begin to melt. No advance frying for these veggies. Just slice, layer and put it in the oven. Or fry and layer in a small batch of eggplant slices for their rich, luxurious feel. The whole thing’s very simple and pretty quick. You can put it together in less than 10 minutes without the eggplant; 20 minutes with.
For two servings
1 large zucchini, sliced to about 1/8″ thickness
3 small tomatoes (sliced) or 12-15 cherry tomatoes (halved); or, whole peeled canned tomatoes (torn)
2 teaspoons of thinly sliced garlic
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced to small bite-size
1 small eggplant, peeled, sliced and fried in olive oil
1/4- cup of grated aged parmigiano cheese
4 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
10 – 12 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1 teaspoon of fresh oregano leaves
While you preheat your oven to 375 F, coat the inside of small baking dish with olive oil and prepare the eggplant. Now assemble the layers of ingredients.
Tomatoes and their juice first. Then add a half dozen or so of the garlic slices, half the scallions and sprinkle a light dusting of the grated parmigiano cheese on top. A little salt and pepper, too. Then a layer of eggplant slices. And some of the basil on top of that.
Next up: a layer of the zucchini and mushroom slices. Then more parmigiano. Now a layer of thin mozzarella slices, torn. More tomato and basil on top of that. Repeat the seasonings: parmigiano, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. more basil.
Finally, a layer of zucchini slices. And another layer of mozzarella.
Into the oven for 40 minutes, until it’s very bubbly and the cheese begins to brown on top.
It’s very hot and juicy, so let it rest for at least 20 minutes before you try to slice and serve it warm. Wait 40 – 60 minutes to bring it to near room temperature. Spoon the juice onto the slices. It’s a light, bright, aromatic vegetable sauce. On top of a slightly gooey but amazingly light parmigiana. The combination is deeply aromatic. Inhale. Eat slowly.
Less than $3 per serving of a light, bright, sweet, luscious and gooey main course. No breading. Near-zero Glycemic Load.
The Olive Garden wants $15.95 for their fried, breaded eggplant version (it comes with spaghetti). More than four times the price of your own fresh, satisfying and luscious masterpiece. As usual, Better is Cheaper.