This recipe made our mouths water: tender eggplant slices team up with melted cheese, tomato or red bell pepper, and fresh basil to make a stack or a sandwich that tastes like summer. You can fire up the grill or make these under the broiler or in a pan; any way you do it, this is a healthy and flavorful meatless meal.
1 large eggplant, sliced into 16 1/4-inch rounds
8 thin slices provolone, Gouda, or other cheese
2 thinly-sliced tomatoes or 4 large pieces roasted red bell pepper
8 to 16 leaves fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Seasalt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1. Whisk all seasoning oil ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Brush eggplant slices with seasoning oil and place over medium-high heat on grill. Close lid and cook until tender, turning and brushing with remaining seasoning oil, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from grill. (You may also cook eggplant under the broiler, or saute them in a pan until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes per side.)
3. Place a slice of cheese on 1 eggplant slice, then top with another eggplant slice. Top this with 2 tomato slices or a piece of roasted red pepper, then put 2 to 4 basil leaves on top of that. Top with third eggplant slice, then another slice of cheese. Top with a fourth eggplant slice. Finish with a grind of pepper.
4. Repeat process to make 4 stacks. Place stacks on grill, close lid, and cook for about 2 minutes, turning once.
5. Serve immediately, or make into sandwiches on crusty rolls or bread. These sandwiches may be served warm or wrapped tightly and chilled several hours or overnight.
Inspired by Simply in Season, by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert (Herald Press, 2005).