Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Mousse with a Tomato and Yellow Bell Pepper Salad

1 1/2 large eggplants cut into approx 24 slices
salt and pepper to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
few drops tabasco sauce
few drops balsamic vinegar
For the Salad
2 1/2 cups firm deep-red tomatoes (3 medium) deseeded and cut into small even dice
1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into small even dice
1/2 cup light and fruity olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
12 black olives pitted and roughly torn into quarters
5 sprigs fresh coriander, stalks removed
salt and pepper to taste
For the Mousse
3/4 cup sun-dried tomato paste
3/4 cup fromage frais
1 teaspoon hot water

Sprinkle the eggplant slices lightly with salt and set aside for about 1 hour to draw out any bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry.

Meanwhile, prepare the mousse by mixing the sun-dried tomato paste with the fromage frais and the hot water, which helps the amalgamation of the two. Place in a food processsor and blend for about 30 seconds until light and smooth.

Heat the oil in a skillet until very hot, drop in 5-6 eggplant slices and fry until they are dark golden in color. Place on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt and a few drops of Tabasco and balsamic vinegar. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.

To assemble, place a large slice of eggplant on each individual plate and spread 1 tablespoon mousse over the top. Repeat this layering process once more and top with a third eggplant slice.

To make the salad garnish, mix the diced tomato with the yellow bell pepper. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and Tabasco, season with salt and pepper, and add into the salad. Spoon the salad generously around each eggplant mound. Garnish with olive quarters and coriander leaves and serve at once.

Serves 6



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