Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Napoleons with Black Olive Dressing
For the black olive dressing:
For the black olive dressing:
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons seeded and diced tomato
3 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced black olives, such as nicoise or kalamata
2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For fresh basil puree:
3 tablespoons chopped poached garlic
1 quart packed basil leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or blanched almonds
rich vegetable stock
For the garnish:
drops of reduced balsamic vinegar
black olive dressing
fresh basil puree
For the napoleons:
2 pounds roma tomatoes, halved, seeded and oven dried (procedure follows)
2 (1 pound) eggplants each about 4-inches in diameter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 medium zucchini halved and cut length wise into 16 slices
2 medium peeled red onions cut into 8 rounds
4 small red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded and cut into quarters
2 large portobello mushrooms, black gills removed and cut into 16 thick slices
1 1/4 pounds fresh or smoked mozzarella, cut into 16 slices
4 branches of rosemary made into spears
combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least 2 hours, covered and refrigerated, for flavors to develop. For the poached garlic in the basil puree, place unpeeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan and cover by 1-inch of cold water. Bring to a boil, drain and repeat process 2 more times. Remove husk from garlic, chop. For the basil puree, blanch the basil in lightly salted boiling water for about 5 seconds. Remove and immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain well, squeeze dry and chop. Add to a blender along with poached garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and enough stock to make a smooth puree. Store in refrigerator.
To oven dry tomatoes for napoleons:
cut tomatoes in half and remove stems. With your fingers gently squeeze and remove the seeds. Lightly oil a baking sheet, place tomatoes and season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in a preheated 225 degree oven for 3 to 4 hours or until tomatoes are somewhat shriveled and have the faintest bit of color on them.
For the napoleons, slice the eggplants into 12 (1/2-inch) thick rounds and generously paint both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven until cooked through and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Oil, season and roast remaining vegetables in the same manner and set aside. Be sure not to overcook, vegetables should still have some texture.
To assemble the napoleons, on a lightly oiled baking sheet start with a round of eggplant and top with slices of zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms and oven dried tomatoes and cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with an eggplant slice for each napoleon. Place a rosemary spear in the center of each napoleon to hold it together.
To serve, Place baking sheet with napoleons in a preheated 375 degree oven for a few minutes to warm through and barely melt cheese. Place on warm plates and spoon the black olive dressing around. Top with drops of the reduced Balsamic vinegar, fresh basil puree and garnish with herb sprigs.
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