Eggplant with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Feta

Makes 4 side dish servings or 2 main dish servings
1 pound eggplant
6-8 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. pesto
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp. herbes de provence (can substitute basil)
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese

Remove the prickly stem end of the eggplant.  Slice lengthwise into 1/4" inch wide pieces.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes to "sweat" out the water in the eggplant.  Pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet.  Place half the eggplant slices in a single layer in the hot skillet and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, adding oil if it all gets soaked up.  While in the skillet, sprinkle eggplant with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove cooked eggplant to a 9"x13" glass dish.  Add more oil and repeat process with the rest of the eggplant slices.

Stir together 2 tablespoons of pesto with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to thin out the pesto.  Spoon it onto the eggplant in the dish, and spread it out over the eggplant.

On top of that, layer some thinly sliced tomatoes.  Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of herbes de provence (or basil), then sprinkle the crumbled feta on top.  Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until feta is slightly softened (it won't melt) and dish is heated through.

So, we've been on this crazy eggplant kick around here.  I know what you're thinking - Who loves eggplant? - but let me explain.

We have this little family routine every Saturday, where we walk to the farmer's market (a little less than a mile away) and make ourselves spend $20 on anything we want.  It's our own little version of a CSA, minus the paying up front thing.

When we're on our way, we ask Big Girl what she wants to get at the farmer's market.  She typically says "eggplant" (exception listed below) ... What kind of two year old wants eggplant?  Seriously.  We think she just likes the word.

But since it's the farmer's market, and since there is a really awesome spread that the Eggplant Lady has for sale, we always get some.  This week's fruit (vegetable?  no, fruit.  yes.  fruit) was a small, slender, white eggplant about 8 inches long - we got two of them, and Big Girl was so excited.

I did a little pinterest searching to find some inspiration, and found the recipe that springboarded me into the dish I made.  The one thing I was lacking from that recipe was quantities of basil, but I had some pesto on hand so that's what I used instead.

And ...


It was so good.  Don't let my novice photography skills fool you: this is a show-stopper.

I ate the equivalent of an entire eggplant.  Yes, that would be four slices of eggplant.  And a small tomato.  I also had two servings of salad, and a couple of slices of bread.  I was really hungry.  And it was just so good.  

So, if you're feeling up for it, I cordially invite you to jump on our weird-wagon over here and get yourself some eggplant.  And a tomato.  And some pesto.  And a little sprinkling of cheese (no feta?  I was thinking parmesan or mozzarella would be good.  Or a mix of cheeses.)

*There was that one time that the Mister asked Big Girl what vegetable she wanted to get from the farmer's market, and she said "sausage."  He explained what vegetables were, listed a good many of them, and asked her again.  She still said "sausage," so that's what they got.

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