Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eggplant Napoleons


It's been the summer of eggplants for us, with the purple vegetable growing in abundance in our garden. 
We've been enjoying grilled eggplants as a side dish for dinner, and have taken them to take to parties in the last month too. They're delicious hot off the grill or at room temperature.
 Start by slicing the eggplants, then salting them and letting them sweat on a paper towel for an hour or so. It removes the bitterness and gets rid of some of the water too. I pat them dry, then toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic and an herb - usually mint, but thyme is nice here too. Grill them until they're browned on one side, then flip and brown on the other side.
We usually have more than we need for one dinner, so I gave some of them new life by making eggplant Napoleons. 
Just take a slice of the grilled eggplant, smear a little tomato sauce on top (I had fresh tomato sauce thanks to my dad's and my niece's gardens). Then place a slice of some fresh mozzarella over that and continue with two more eggplant slices until you finish with eggplant and sauce on top. Place it back on the grill for just a minute to melt the cheese, (with the lid closed) - or place it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
They make a great meal all by themselves, but they're nice alongside a piece of salmon and some garden fresh green beans too.

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.
 
Eggplant Napoleons:
 
 
grilled eggplant slices
fresh mozzarella
tomato sauce
 
 
To grill the eggplants, slice each eggplant about 1/2 " thick, then place on paper towels and salt both sides with table salt. Let the slices sit about an hour. Pat dry, then toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped mint (or thyme).
Place on the grill and grill until each side has browned. Then in a heatproof pan, or aluminum foil pan, place a slice of eggplant, a slathering of tomato sauce, and a slice of fresh mozzarellla. Top with another slice of eggplant, more sauce and another slice of mozzarella. Finish with a final slice of eggplant and more tomato sauce. Place the Napoleons back on the grill (put them on a tin-foil pan first), close the lid and cook until the cheese melts - another five minutes or less. Alternately, put the Napoleons in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes.

 
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Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Veggie Pizza


There are so many reasons I love summer, including the delicious sweet corn that grows prolifically here in New Jersey. We've been eating it at least once a week, just boiled in water for three or four minutes. 
With one of the leftover ears, I was inspired to make a summer pizza using more terrific Jersey produce - (we are the "Garden State" after all!) after seeing something similar on my friend Stacey's blog. 
The first time I tried it, I also added some zucchini and a bit of anchovy - just enough to give it a zing. 
I can just hear those of you who are anchovy averse turning off at this point. But wait - the second time I made it, I added small cherry tomatoes and pancetta in addition to the corn and zucchini. In both cases, I used fresh oregano and basil (and mozzarella cheese of course).
For all you vegetarians, you can skip the anchovies or the pancetta and it will still be delicious, provided you have sweet corn in season.
Although I used a perforated pizza pan to bake the pizzas at a high temperature, the bottom crust just wasn't getting browned enough. So after about 12 minutes at 475 degrees, I slipped the pizza off the pan and slid it directly onto the lowest of the oven's wire racks for a few more minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
It worked beautifully and created a crispy, crunchy bottom crust, without burning the toppings.
So take your pick and choose either surf (anchovies):
or turf (pancetta). In either case, you'll want to try this corn pizza while fresh corn is at its peak.
Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter.
 
Summer Veggie Pizza
 
pizza dough (your own recipe or store-bought)
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (or several balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced)
1 ear of corn, kernels scraped (either raw or leftover boiled)
1 small zucchini (or half of a large zucchini), sliced thinly and salted
either - 2 anchovies in oil or 6 thin slices of pancetta, fried until crispy 
8-10 red or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
fresh basil
fresh oregano
black pepper 
olive oil 
 
Whether using your own homemade dough, or store-purchased dough, put it in a bowl smeared with oil and let it come to room temperature and rest for about an hour. Punch it down and spread it out over a large perforated pizza pan. 
Scatter the mozzarella over the dough, then place the zucchini and corn kernels and/or cherry tomatoes on top .
If using anchovies, lay them in a few places across the pizza. Do the same if using the pancetta.
Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes. If the dough is not browning on the bottom, slide the pizza from the pan directly onto the lowest rack of the oven. Let it bake for another 3-5 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn't burn.

 
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