Inspired by lasagna, grilled eggplant, ripe tomatoes, and creamy cheese seasoned with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar is a fresh and light vegetarian main dish. Wedges of Soft Socca are a perfect partner.

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, 6 tablespoons
  • Fresh basil, ¼ cup ( oz/10 g) minced
  • Shallots, ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) minced
  • Balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons
  • Heirloom tomatoes, 10 oz (315 g), cored and chopped (about 1½ cups/280 g)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Small, slender Italian eggplants, 4 (about 8 oz/250 g each)
  • Fresh goat cheese, ¾ cup (about 3 oz/90 g) crumbled

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine the oil, basil, shallots, and vinegar. In another small bowl, mix the chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture. Season the tomatoes to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Trim the rounded part off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half and place on a small oiled baking sheet. Brush both sides with the oil mixture and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over high heat. Place the eggplant on the grill. Cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes per side. Return the eggplant to the baking sheet. Divide the cheese among the eggplant halves. Place the baking sheet on the grill, cover, and cook until the cheese begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
  4. Using a metal spatula, carefully transfer the topped eggplant to warmed plates. Spoon the tomato mixture over each and serve right away.

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