Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Summer's Version of Eggplant Parmesan

On Saturday my Dad went to the farmer's market. I've been going alone since I can't put up with my grandfather's remarks of "everything is so expensive" and my Dad's skepticism about the food. But that was earlier, when the season hadn't yet yielded its bounty of juicy peaches, delicate squash, and oblong cucumbers. Now they've arrived.

I, however, was at a different market with different things, filled with fresh Ontario produce (such as tiny yellow-green sugar plums that my mouth couldn't help but pucker at the sight of) that I couldn't have. (My cousin did buy me the plums, even though I half-heartedly argued against it. I at least enjoyed two before the customs officers took them away. I knew they would, but my cousin wouldn't keep them.)

By the time I returned home with lavash and sangak, as well as some kashk and reshteh (I was in Tehranto, after all), Dad already had the freezer filled with roasted eggplant (perfect for a last-minute dinner of Mirza Ghasemi or dad's irresistible eggplant dip for a party), and the fridge with a handful of roasted beets. (Note to self: use the beets!)

I was also excited to see eggplants in the crisper drawer of the fridge. I'd been wanting to get some eggplant to try out a grilled version of eggplant parmegiana. I'd seen it in Gourmet and thought that it looked fun. I just didn't feel like getting out the magazine and following a recipe, which is out of character. Instead I headed to the store, bought about a pound of mozzarella, a couple tomatoes, and I was set.
Though the whole not-following a recipe does have its weak points. I checked to make sure we had Parmesan, and then completely forgot to use it. I think the flavor may have been better with it and a bit less mozzarella, which is what I will try next time.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan
inspired by the recipe in Gourmet, June 2007
Serves 4

4 medium eggplant
3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced into the 16 slices
4 medium tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
20 medium-large basil leaves, plus a few more torn
oil, for brushing

Prepare grill.

Dice tomatoes. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine tomatoes, garlic, red pepper, and a few torn basil leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cover, stirring occasionally, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, slice each eggplant lengthwise into five slices. Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill eggplant over medium-heat, flipping once, for about 15 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Try to keep track of which eggplant slices belonged to which eggplant.

To assemble, starting with one side of the eggplant. Top with a slice of cheese, basil leave, and small spoonful of sauce. Add next layer of eggplant and repeat, ending with top of eggplant. Top with a spoonful of sauce and a basil leaf. Repeat with remaining three eggplants.


Vanessa said...

That looks GREAT! Perfect for the weather. and what a pretty picture too...

Savory Tart Recipes said...

Thank you for writingg this