Monday, April 19, 2010

Grilled Eggplant with Fontina Cheese and Lemon Olive Oil

Like artichokes, I so want to love eggplant. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. This recipe falls somewhere in the middle. The flavors were pretty intense, even though it was a good intense. This recipe comes from "The Frugal Gourment Cooks Italian" by Jeff Smith.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

1 1-pound eggplant
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil for grilling
3/4 cup finely diced tomato
1 tbl. chopped parsley
1 tbl grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbl. lemon olive oil*
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 pound Italian Fontina cheese

Cut the eggplant crosswise at a 45-degree angle into 1/4-in.-thick slices, about 8 slices. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with salt. Place in a large colander inside a bowl and allow to drain for 40 minutes. Rinse, drain well, and pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels.
Heat a stove-top grill (I used an indoor electric grill) to medium-high. Brush one side of the eggplant slices with olive oil and grill until a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Brush the uncooked side with oil and turn over. Grill until brown on that side. Remove to a sheet pan to cool.
Combine the parsley, tomato, Parmesan cheese, and lemon olive oil. Grind the pepper over the bowl. Cut the Fontina into thin strips. Place cheese evenly on one half of each cooled eggplant slice. Top the cheese with the tomato mixture. Fold each eggplant slice into half to form a half-moon.
Place on serving platter and drizzle with additional olive oil. Allow to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

*To make the Lemon Olive Oil: whisk together 2 tbl. olive oil with a generous splash of lemon juice until emulsified.
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