Upping the ante on a traditional caprese salad- I added breaded and fried eggplant. That’s right all the wonders of eggplant parmesan in classy appetizer form–winner!
Eggplant Caprese Salad
1 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant (the smaller and more cylindrical the better for plating)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large tomatoes on the vine (or heirloom), cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 (8 ounce) ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Balsamic vinegar to finish
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450. Then, in a Cuisinart, mix all pesto ingredients and pulse until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
Next, start a breading station for your eggplant:
Fill one bowl with flour, one with breadcrumbs, and in the remaining bowl mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water-whisking to blend.
Peel your eggplant and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Start by dredging the slices in flour, dusting off excess, and then dipping into egg wash. Finish in breadcrumbs and repeat till all slices are breaded.
In a large saute pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Fry eggplant in batches until golden brown (3-4 minutes per side)-add remaining olive oil between batches. When finished place onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Pat off excess oil with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble salads: start with your largest slices of fried eggplant, then spoon a 1/2 teaspoon of pesto on top. Stack a slice of mozzarella and a tomato on top of that and repeat till you have two tiers. Finish with a dollop of pesto and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Season slightly with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately. Enjoy!