Sunday, August 23, 2015

Eggplant 'Rosa Bianca'_ Grilled and Stacked

It deserves a post of its own.

Solanum melongena 'Rosa Bianca' is clearly our # 1 choice when it comes to wonderful and beautiful. We have tried a number of heirloom eggplants over the years and have enjoyed them all, but this is our 5th season for this variety.

S. melongena Rosa Bianca
Gorgeous lavender fruits streaked with colors of creamy white shading, this Italian heirloom has tender skin, great flavor, and did I say beautiful? Plus, the shape is perfect for roasting or grilling thick slices.

80-90 days to harvest, and as with all eggplant, they love sun and heat. Know the seed is slow to  germinate, but as gardeners we know patience is a virtue and with great reward.

Grilled Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Stack with Balsamic Reduction from Diana's kitchen

Heirloom tomato, thickly sliced (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh mozzarella, sliced, about 1/2 inch
fresh basil, thinly sliced
Rosa Bianca eggplant, unpeeled and thickly sliced (1/2 to 3/4 inch)
1 egg, slightly beaten
Panko or bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

balsamic reduction (see below)

Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle each with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and set aside on a platter. Slice the soft mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with basil and put it aside.

Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg, then into the panko, and transfer to a heated frying pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper and saute until golden brown, several minutes on each side and until slightly fork tender and maintains some firmness. Remove and transfer to a plate for assembly.

Assemble: grilled eggplant, slice of mozzarella with basil, tomato, mozzarella, and top with another grilled eggplant. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Um... reminds me of a portobello mushroom.

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Place the vinegar in a non-reactive saucepan. Heat on medium-high until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the vinegar becomes a syrupy consistency, 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

It will become slightly thicker when cool; if it is too thick, I add a touch more balsamic; if it is too thin, put it back on the stove for further reduction. 1/2 cup of vinegar should yield slightly over 1/4 cup. Keep it stored at room temperature.