Mary Anne here. Once again, I offer a recipe that came to me in the aisles of my greengrocer’s. Summer eggplant was on sale and with the lure of its dark purple skin – smooth, glossy, and beautifully unblemished – it seemed to magically jump into my basket. As I pondered what to do with this beauty – too tired and definitely too hot to consider Ratatouille – I found myself yearning for a tomato-sauced, melted mozzarella, Eggplant Parmesan Sammie on a soft, soft deli roll. My post-gym workout self answered with a resounding “No way!” and I somehow translated THOSE rich (and fattening!) ingredients into THIS incredibly tasty creation – sans the caloric guilt! No, it’s not my mom’s or your mom’s rendition of an Italian classic, but my lighter-eggplant “parm” definitely satisfied my craving for that diet-busting sammie!
Broiled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Caramelized Onion, and Brie
Note: Sweat the eggplant before cooking as it reduces the acidity. Line two baking racks with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking racks. Allow to “sweat” for 20 minutes. (You will literally see beads of moisture appear.) Blot dry with fresh paper towels and proceed with the recipe.
2 Tablespoons good-quality olive oil plus additional oil for basting the veggies– stock
1 large (about 1 lb.) Vidalia onion sliced into thin rings – $1.42
2 cloves of garlic, minced – stock
splash of Balsamic vinegar – stock
1 ½ lb. eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds and sweated as described above – $1.49
1 lb. ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced into ¼- inch thick rounds – $2.99
1/3 cup chopped fresh Basil – $1.99
½ lb. Brie, rind removed and thinly sliced – $4.00
toasted chopped walnuts – optional
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $11.89
Total Per Serving: $1.98
1. Move the top oven rack so that it is approximately 6 – inches away from the broiler flame. Preheat the broiler according to the manufacturer’s directions.
2. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet and arrange the eggplant in a single layer. Using a pastry brush, lightly baste the slices with olive oil.
3. Broil the eggplant for 7 or 8 minutes until lightly golden. Turn the slices over ; lightly paint with olive oil, and broil an additional 8 minutes until golden and soft.
4. Meanwhile, heat the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Over high flame, sauté the onion slices, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and a splash of Balsamic and sauté an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
6. In a medium bowl, combine the onions and chopped basil.
7. When the eggplant is cooked, transfer carefully to a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
8. On the cookie sheet used for the eggplant, lightly oil the pan and arrange the tomato slices in a single layer. Brush each slice with oil and broil for 8 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden and the tomato is soft.
9. Turn off the broiler and allow the oven to cool down for about 15 minutes.
10. Move the oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
11. Meanwhile, top each eggplant slice with tomato followed by the onion-basil mixture and then the sliced Brie. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
12. Transfer the slices to a serving platter. Garnish with walnuts and parsley, if desired.