Meatless Monday

I cannot stress how much I LOVE summer produce.  Meats become pretty much non-existent in my summertime meals because I prefer to feast mainly on the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available from farmers markets and from my Backyard Produce delivery service. 

Eggplant Caprese may be considered just a snack or appetizer for some folks but combined with some freshly baked hearty bread, it makes an entire meal for me.  Choose the best quality ingredients you can find because the sum of this dish is only as good as its individual components.  Pull out your best EVOO, choose the ripest heirloom tomato and the freshest Mozzarella and savor the flavors of summer!

I'm sharing my quick trick for turning a not-so-expensive balsamic vinegar into an expensive tasting one and it only takes about 5 minutes of your time.  It takes this fresh combination of flavors totally over the top!

Eggplant Caprese

Printable Recipe

1 small-medium eggplant
1 large ripe tomato
1 ball of fresh Mozzarella
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar*

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (or use the "broil" setting).

Wash the eggplant and cut it into 1/2" inch thick slices.  Slice the tomato and Mozzarella in slices as well.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper and place the eggplant slices into the pan.  Drizzle with a little more oil, if needed.  Fry eggplant, turning once, for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, but not too soft.  Remove eggplant from the pan and place in an ovenproof dish. Top each slice with a slice of tomato and a slice of Mozzarella. Season with more salt & pepper. Place dish in the oven for about 2 minutes or until Mozzarella starts melting. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with some chopped basil and a little balsamic vinegar.

*If you're using an inexpensive balsamic vinegar and would like to turn it into a delicious and expensive tasting vinegar, just pour about 4 times as much vinegar as you're going to need into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and allow vinegar to simmer for about 2-4 minutes.  Allow it to reduce until it's slightly thinner than what you want because it will continue to reduce after you take it off the heat.   Drizzle over meat, fish, fruits or vegetables. 



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