Incorporate more local, seasonal foods into your culinary repertoire.

Why? Because seasonal food is fresher so it tends to be better tasting and more nutritious. You also avoid paying the premium placed on items which are shipped in from a distance while helping to support your local economy.

For me, eggplant and tomatoes are in season!

Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Stacks

Recipe courtesy of eatingwell.com

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium eggplant (3/4-1 pound), cut into 6 rounds about 1/2 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

6 teaspoons prepared pesto

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices about 3/4 inch thick

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 6 thin slices

6 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat grill to medium-high or place a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.

Use 2 teaspoons oil to brush both sides of eggplant slices; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill the eggplant slices for 5 minutes.Turn; continue grilling until tender and marked with grill lines, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large platter.

Spread each eggplant slice with 1 teaspoon pesto. Top with a slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf.

Drizzle vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the towers; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Yield: 6 servings

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