Recipe Corner: Grilled Eggplant, Tomatoes and Cheese Mezze with Yogurt Mint Salad

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By Christine Vartanian Datian

 

Ingredients:

6-8 Japanese eggplants, sliced thinly

6 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly or 2 boxes of cherry tomatoes, halved

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1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup black or green olives, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)

12-16 slices of rustic Italian bread, 1/2-inch thick, or 8-10 pita breads cut in half

Mozzarella or Jack cheese, cut in thin slices

Roasted red pepper slices, diced

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese

Fresh basil leaves (torn)

Minced flat-leaf parsley, green onions, and mint (to taste)

Olive oil, kosher salt, black or white pepper (to taste)

 

Preparation:

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, basil, and a few tablespoons of olive oil, toss, and set aside.

Brush bread or pita slices with olive oil and garlic mixture, and grill until toasted, turning one time, about 5 minutes (do not burn); remove bread from grill and keep warm.  (Or you can bake bread slices in the oven arranged on a baking sheet, oiled side up).

Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and garlic mixture, and grill for 5-8 minutes or until browned.  Turn eggplant slices over and top with thin sliced cheese.  Grill for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Arrange grilled eggplant on top of sliced bread, and top with the tomato and olive mixture and the roasted peppers.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and Parmesan or feta cheese, and garnish with parsley, mint, and green onions.

Serve mazza hot or cold with a warm tomato sauce on the side, if desired, and the Cucumber Mint Salad.

Serves 6-8.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee newspaper, Sunset magazine, Cooking Light magazine, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

 

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