Simply Healthy Family: Grilled Eggplant Caprese with Parmesan and Garlic White Bean Puree

9.6.13

Grilled Eggplant Caprese with Parmesan and Garlic White Bean Puree





Summer in Phoenix means very long, hot days and cooking is the very last thing I want to do. Sitting by the pool with an ice cold drink while waiting for my grill to work it's magic on these eggplants however, is my idea of a perfect summer supper. Grilling thick slices of eggplant brings out a wonderful smokey flavor that baking just can't replicate. In a pinch broiling them will do but I find that not only is the flavor not up to par but they turn out a bit soggier than when on the grill.











Now that the kids are out of school I seem to have lost any and all motivation to cook over involved meals. We have a fun, semi-structured summer plan to keep our bodies in motion and our minds from turning into jello. On the 3 days during the week that I work my mom is nice enough to have a short, fun and interactive lesson planned for them. They've been learning about insects, ocean creatures and the different parts of plants so far. After their lesson they do a fun project or a craft about what they learned.

On the week they learned about insects, they learned all about bees and how they make honey and interact with each other in the hive. We have a fun trip to a small, family owned farm near our house that has several bee hives on site! How cool! This will also let them see how and where plants, our food in particular grow. Right now they think that bananas grow at the grocery store and hot dogs grow on trees. O.K. not really, but living in the city they've only seen the few pathetic plants and herbs that mommy tries to grow in pots. So we are looking forward to a trip to a real farm.






Eggplant is almost at the end of it's season here in the Phoenix desert so we will have to pick up several while we are at the farm along with heirloom tomatoes, peppers, purple and green beans, 
summer squash and strawberries. 


Tonapah Rob's Vegetable Farm. Heirloom Tomatoes





I'll have to post about the whole bee hive experience and pick up a bottle of the local, Organic honey they produce there! They also have over 300 hens so hopefully we will get some nice fresh eggs. 
So excited!





Simple Summer Supper




For the Eggplant Caprese

2 medium eggplants, sliced
2 large tomatoes, sliced
8-10 oz fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
fresh Parmesan, grated
handful of fresh basil, chopped
EVOO for brushing eggplant
salt

For the White Bean Puree

2 cups dry white beans
4 cups chicken broth or water
1 small leek (optional, for more flavor)
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon EVOO
1 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked pepper

Preparation: The night before, soak your beans in a covered bowl of water.
In the morning, drain and rinse the beans. Place in a slow cooker with water, salt
bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Cook on low for 8 hours. Do not pick up lid.

Putting it all together:
Fire up your grill on medium heat.

Using a paring knife, remove peel from eggplant. Slice into 1/2 pieces. 
Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. 
Remove loose skin from garlic. Cut the top 1/4 inch off of the head of garlic.
Lightly drizzle the exposed garlic cloves with oil. Place on grill. 
Cut the dark green leaves off the leek, discard. Slice the remaining white and light green
stalk in half lengthwise. Brush lightly with oil. Place leek cut side down on grill.
Place eggplant on grill and press lightly. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side (leave the leek face down). 
I like to close the grill lid to let the smoke work it's magic. Be careful not to let them burn.

Remove from grill. Set eggplant aside. Carefully chop leek into small pieces.

Meanwhile, remove rosemary and bay leaves from cooked beans. 
Put leek into the slow cooker with the beans. Carefully squeeze out cooked garlic cloves into
beans. Using an immersion blender, puree the beans until smooth. 
Spoon onto a deep plate. Top with freshly cracked pepper.

On top of the bean puree, place a slice of grilled eggplant, top with slice of mozzarella, tomato, chopped basil, repeat. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with basil.



I know it may sound like a lot of preparation but it's really not. I just wanted to explain in detail.  Also, 
the flavor of the bean puree was so complex thanks to slow cooking in the herbs, the grilled garlic and leek and paired wonderfully with the eggplant caprese.
 It makes this a complete and very satisfying dinner. 






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6 comments:

  1. A very fresh and beautiful summer dish!

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  2. Love this.. This is so light and flavorful!!!

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  3. This is such a gorgeous meal! The kind of thing I'd expect to be served at a restaurant!

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  4. I love this dish. It looks so beautiful and fresh. Kisses, darling.

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  5. How did I miss this Gwen? Summer in NH means a short one - we are barely at 60 degrees and have had a FULL WEEK of rain! But, looks to be turning and I can't think of a yummier dish to enjoy. Thanks, as always, for sharing!

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  6. This is really yummy. Thanks for the easy recipe.

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