Do you ever finish your picture taking, and then realize afterwards that you should have done something different to make it a heck of a lot better? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a such a bad picture, I just think it might have looked stunning against a red background. I briefly thought about this while photographing, but decided I was too lazy (and hungry) to switch backgrounds.
When I finally sat down to satisfy my hunger, and cut into this beautiful stack of grilled eggplant, tomatoes, pesto and goat cheese, I realized just how beautiful it was inside – perfect, gorgeous layers. I briefly thought about getting out my camera then for more shots, but I must confess something: about 90% of the time, I don’t like pictures of food that’s been cut into it. I think there are very few cases where it’s done right and most of the time it just looks sloppy, and I didn’t want to fall into that trap! So you’ll just have to trust me – the layers were beautiful.
This concoction combined the smokey taste of grilled eggplant which I love so much with another of my loves – tangy, fresh goat cheese, and my almost-fat free pesto. I was a little skeptical about how the fresh tomatoes would do in there, but they worked great and got cooked just enough as I warmed the stacks on the grill.
For a side dish, I chose barley – if you haven’t tried this grain yet, please do. Nutritionally, it’s great for you, with more fiber and protein than rice. I love the hearty texture, almost like nutty rolled oats. I flavored it with a little bit of lemon zest and thyme, and it was perfect!
Grilled Eggplant Stacks with Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Tomato
1 small to medium eggplant, sliced (I used 8 slices total for 2 stacks)
6 thick tomato slices
~1/3 cup pesto, store bought, homemade, or homemade healthy!
2oz goat cheese, crumbled
1-2 tbsp grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
Salt the eggplant slices on both sides and let stand at least 30 minutes on paper towels. Rinse and pat dry.
Preheat grill to medium heat. Spray both sides of the eggplant with olive oil spray and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove from heat, but leave the grill on.
Lay a piece of foil over a grilling stone and spray it with nonstick spray. For each stack, layer a slice of eggplant, a drizzle of pesto, a tomato slice, a bit of crumbled goat cheese, and a little more pesto. Repeat 3 times and place a final slice of eggplant on top. Top the final slice with a little pesto and a pinch of grated cheese. Place the stone on the grill, close the grill, and “bake” for about 10 minutes.
2tsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced yellow onion
2 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
freshly ground salt & pepper
about 1tsp each fresh thyme and lemon zest