Friday, April 5, 2013

Eggplant Towers with Hearty Tomato Sauce

Eggplant Towers with Hearty Tomato Sauce
(for two)


- 1 Large Onion
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 7 Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- Handful of fresh Italian
- Handful of fresh Tarragon
- 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
- Red Wine (to taste)
- Salt and Freshly Ground
   Pepper to taste
- Olive oil

Cheese Filling:

- Approx. ¼ cup Mascarpone
  Cheese (it's a sweet creamy
  Italian cheese)
- Approx. ½ cup freshly
   grated Parmesan Cheese 
- Pepper to taste

Prepare Eggplant- Cut off both ends and then slice eggplant into approx. ½ inch discs. Make sure you can get 8 good sized slices out of the eggplant (enough to make 2 towers); there will be some excess that you can dice up and use in the sauce. 

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and place in a colander to “sweat” (this keeps the eggplant from tasting bitter), set aside. 

Dice the onion and start to heat some olive oil in a large pan. 

Once the oil is hot add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened. 

 While onion is cooking dice up garlic (or use garlic press), then add to the onions once they have softened. Cook about 30 seconds (not too long or the garlic will burn). 

Add the diced eggplant and diced mushrooms(if you don’t have all of them diced by this point don’t worry, just add what you have cut and add the rest as you go). 

Add the red wine (as you pour, go around the perimeter of the pan about two times, that should give you the right amount. Don’t be afraid to be generous.) Bring this to a boil, allowing the wine to reduce a bit.

Add the can of tomatoes, making sure the mixture continues to boil for a minute or two.
Reduce to simmer and add the parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

At this time preheat your broiler to Low. Let the tomato sauce simmer for a few minutes then reduce heat to low and cover. 
Now you can turn your attention back to the eggplant. 
Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Spread some olive oil on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant on the baking sheet, brush the tops of the discs with olive oil 
and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 

Broil 3 minutes then remove from oven, flip discs and salt and pepper the other side. 
Broil 5 minutes more.

While the eggplant is broiling prepare the cheese filling. Mix parmesan and mascarpone cheeses together and add some ground pepper to the mixture 
(you won’t need salt because the parmesan is salty).
 The consistency of the cheese filling will be very thick, almost hard to stir.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and flip once more. 
Place a “dollop” of the cheese mixture on top of each disc. 

Broil about 1 minute (you want it “melty” but just enough - broil it too long 
and the cheese will be overly runny). This is what mine looked like.

Time to assemble the towers – Place a disc on each plate and top with tomato mixture, then repeat, alternating eggplant and sauce, finishing with eggplant as the top layer. Spoon the remaining sauce around the base of the towers and top with a sprig of fresh tarragon. 

P.S. I like this sauce to be a little "brothy" as you can see from the picture, but if you prefer a thicker consistency, simply remove the lid and let the sauce reduce over medium heat until it reaches your desired consistency.

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