We are eggplant lovers around here, and this is one of my favorite ways of serving it. Juicy slices of roasted eggplant are layered with creamy goat cheese, fresh basil, lemony dressing, and velvety balsamic reduction. All topped with crunchy walnuts! It sounds good, it looks good, and it is very easy to put together.
If you don't like goat cheese, substitute it for slices of fresh mozzarella (that would look gorgeous stacked with the eggplant!).
For roasting the eggplant:
1 large eggplant
salt and pepper
herbes de Provence (a mix of dried thyme, fennel, lavender, basil etc). If you don't have it, use your favorite dried herb.
For the dressing:
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 pinches of salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
For balsamic vinegar reduction:
2 cups of balsamic vinegar
4 large basil leaves, thinly chopped
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
Fresh goat cheese
1- Start by making the balsamic vinegar reduction:
Place the balsamic vinegar into a small heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat until it has reduced by half and it has a light syrup consistency (about 25 minutes). Keep in mind that the reduction continues to thicken as it cools. I usually make lots of this reduction and keep it around for when I need it.
|If you are not in the mood to make your own balsamic reduction, I recommend keeping a balsamic glaze in hand (this one happens to have fig in it also). You can find it at Williams Sonoma for $16 or a TJ Max for $8 ;)|
2- To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients until well combined and set aside.
3- Now for roasting the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim both ends of the eggplant and cut it in 1/2 inch slices . Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with non-stick aluminium foil, add the eggplant in one single layer (do not overlap the slices on the baking sheet. You might need 2 baking sheets, or to cook them in 2 batches). Drizzle the slices generously with olive oil, flip them and drizzle the other side also. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and black pepper, and finally sprinkle some herbes de Provence on each of the slices. Place it in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the slices and roast them for another 10 minutes or until they are very tender.
|I got a little help from Super-Man. Eggplants can be hard to handle:)|
4- Allow the eggplant to cool after roasting. When ready to serve, drizzle each salad plate with balsamic reduction, add one slice of eggplant, drizzle it with the dressing, brake some goat cheese over the top, add a little basil and little balsamic reduction. Then start another layer repeating all the ingredients. You can stack as many slices as you want. When you are done stacking them add chopped walnuts all over the top. One eggplants serves 2 or 3 people depending on high you stack each plate!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!