Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crispy Baked Eggplant, Green Tomato & Mozzarella Napoleons

The garden is in full swing these days. I'm loving that I don't have to buy mountains of produce at the grocery store, and loving even more that I have to come up with creative ways to use up all our fresh veggies.

This week the eggplants sprouted! I am not an eggplant lover, per se. I like eggplant parm (who doesn't?), but I'm not usually a fan of it otherwise because I find it spongey. I find the trick is to use small eggplants, and to cut them into thin slices.

To make these napoleons, I breaded thin eggplant slices with Italian breadcrumbs and then baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so, flipping halfway through, until they were golden brown. I didn't use any oil - cooking spray on the baking sheet was enough to get them crispy.

While the eggplant was baking, I sliced up two large green tomatoes, sprinkled them with salt and cayenne pepper, and seared them in my cast iron skillet over medium heat. I know green tomatoes sound weird, but honestly they work. They are firm and tart, and are the perfect balance to the crispy eggplant and creamy mozzarella. We have zillions of green tomatoes in our garden, but if you can't find them, just use fresh ripe, red tomatoes - no cooking needed for those.

Once the veggies were cooked, I just layered the eggplant and "fried" green tomatoes with slices of fresh mozzarella, then garnished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little more salt and pepper, and chopped fresh basil. I'm growing purple basil for the first time this year - it tastes the same, but looks so neat!

These napoleons were nearly a meal in themselves, so I served them alongside simple green salads. Seriously, they were so good. They were crunchy, flavorful, fresh and creamy all at the same time. Such a perfect summer treat!

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