I’m still on my “summer is here!!” bug, which means sunshine and grill time as much as I can. A poor weather spring can do that to you I guess. I get out of work and sprint home to get out and lay by the pool. I was spoiled this year living in climates with no winter… Arizona, Los Angeles, Florida- I think I have turned into an iguana. Being outside definitely decreases my appetite for creamy, heavy foods. If it’s cooked on a grill, I’m in heaven. These Eggplant Napoleons are just the trick for a lunch entree or a vegetarian dinner component. I know that Ryan would take one look and think… where’s the rest? So it’s going in the main course category, but if I were serving these, I would also have a big salad with some protein on it.
Eggplant is one of the most deceiving vegetables on a restaurant menu. First, it’s technically a fruit. Second, you see eggplant, you think healthy, right? Unfortunately, probably wrong. Eggplant is incredibly porous and acts like a sponge when it cooks; eggplant parmesan or any version where it’s battered and fried are usually terrible for you. The best way to cook eggplant and have it maintain it’s shape is by grilling it or roasting it in slices in the oven (peel on). Just a few minutes per side softens it up nicely and adds some smokey flavor. Add a meaty portobello mushroom, some fresh summer squash, and a drizzle of pesto, and you have a vegetarian paradise.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes
1 large eggplant
1 yellow summer squash
4 portobello mushroom tops
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pesto
balsamic glaze, for garnish
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
2 tbs fresh basil, minced
- Preheat your grill or broiler (if a grill is unavailable) to medium-high heat. Spray the grill with cooking spray so that the vegetables don’t stick.
- Cut the eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash on a bias into 1/2 inch thick slices. The goal is to make them the same size as the mushrooms, so you can cut them accordingly. You need at least 12 slices of eggplant, and 4 slices of each squash. You can bulk them up and make them more filling by adding 2-3 slices of zucchini and squash instead of one (as pictured).
- Lightly scrape out the black part of the mushrooms with a spoon. Be careful not to dig through the mushroom itself. Sprinkle the minced garlic among the mushroom caps.
- Lay all of the vegetable slices on a cookie sheet. Drizzle oil over the zucchini, squash and mushrooms. Lightly season everything with salt and pepper.
- Grill all the vegetables until they are cooked through but firm. The eggplant will take about 7 minutes per side, whereas the other vegetables may only take 4 minutes per side. Remove them from the heat as they are finished and keep warm with tented foil.
- To assemble: layer one piece of eggplant, the mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, squash, and eggplant on each of 4 plates in that order. Garnish the eggplant with the Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Drizzle the balsamic and pesto around the napoleon. Use a good amount, as it is the sauce for the dish. If your pesto is thick and not runny you can water it down- just be sure to taste and see if it needs to be seasoned with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.