Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eggplant Gratin, Garlic Bread and Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Begin by slicing 1 regular eggplant into 1/2" thick round slices. Place in a single layer and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave on the counter for 30 minutes (or up to an hour) then dab dry with a paper towel or cloth dish towel. Move to a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones) again in a single layer. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant slices with a bit of olive oil and roast for 20 minutes in a 425 degree F. oven, turning once, halfway through the cooking time. After 20 minutes remove eggplant slices to a lightly oiled, large casserole dish and reduce oven to 325 degrees F.

While the eggplant is baking make the topping on your stove top. Heat 3 T. olive oil in a wide skillet and cook until limp and turning in color 1 large onion (diced) and 3 cloves of garlic (chopped). After about 5 minutes add 1 diced green or red bell pepper and 1 chopped tomato. Cook until thick, about 15 minutes, then season with salt, black pepper and basil, as much as you like. Spread this mixture evenly over the eggplant. Cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together 1 cup bread crumbs, a dash or two of cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. After the gratin has baked for 45 minutes, remove the cover and sprinkle with bread crumbs mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the surface and raise heat to 375 degrees F. Bake for 25 more minutes or until crumbs are brown and crisp.

Best to allow the gratin to cool for 10 minutes before savoring warm.

It's this easy to snag a true taste of the Mediterranean with 1 can of olive oil packed tuna. Mix in a bowl with 2 T. rinsed capers and about 6 minced cornichons or gherkins. Flake the tuna well with a fork when mixing. Moisten with a drizzle each of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Add a bit of minced parsley and black pepper and you're done. Minced red onion or scallions are optional add-ins. Salt if you must but taste before doing so.

Eggplant Gratin, Whole Wheat Garlic Bread, Tuna Salad and Romaine Lettuce with Herbed Mayo Dressing

Keep it easy when making garlic bread. A foolproof technique from Cafe Drake HRV is to mix 3 minced garlic cloves into 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and oregano (dried or fresh). Let the oil rest while you make dinner then brush on 1 small whole wheat baguette split in half lengthwise. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees F. for about 10 minutes or less.

The combination of crispy toasted bread crumbs and melting soft and sweet eggplant is indescribable!

Tuna Salad, our way.

Leftovers make lunch an event every day at Cafe Drake HRV.

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