Noah’s Eggplant Napoleon with pesto sauce
This is a favorite amongst the vegetarians for its succulent earthy flavors and filling qualities. For this recipe you can either roast all the vegetables, or you can do what I prefer to do, which is to grill them. I find that the smoky flavor adds to this dish.
For the Napoleon
- 8 medium d Portobello mushroom caps
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 8 rounds that are ½-inch-thick
- 1 beefsteak tomato (sliced into 8 rounds)
- 1 red onion (peeled and quartered)
- 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, stem ends removed and cut lengthwise into 4 equal ¼ inch strips.
- 1 - 8 oz ball of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced into 1 oz portions
- Olive oil for brushing the vegetables
For the Pesto
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (preferably parmesan regiano)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- To make the pesto, puree all pesto ingredients in a food processor and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the Napoleon.
- For the Napoleon, start by brushing the vegetables with a little oil and either put them on a hot grill or roast them in an oven at 400 degrees until they are slightly soft and pliable, but not overcooked. After all the vegetables have been par-cooked, leave them to cool either on the counter or in your refrigerator. When the vegetables cool, lightly season them with salt and pepper.
- Now we are going to start stacking the vegetables to make our Napoleon. Start with the Portobello mushroom as the base, and then add on the tomato, mozzarella cheese, then the eggplant and the zucchini last. Now, for the next layers, you place the Portobello on top of the zucchini, then a layer of eggplant, then a layer of tomato, and then a layer of the cheese. Garnish the top of the Napoleon with the red onion.
- The tower you just built might seem a bit unstable, but the ingredients rest well together when they are roasted. You can assemble these towers up to 24 hours before serving them; simply keep them covered in plastic in your refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
- When you’re ready to cook them, place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake them in your oven at 400 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Serve with the pesto.
This recipe was prepared exclusively for Ciruli Brothers, LLC by Chef Noah Aguilar, Executive Chef of Anza Marketplace in historic Tubac, Arizona, and Sol Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. As a committed promoter of fresh fruits and vegetables, Chef Noah participates in various industry events with the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. His work has been featured in publications such as Sunset Magazine, The Arizonian, and Tucson Lifestyle Magazine, among others. Chef Noah received his education from the New England Culinary Institute, and continues to enrich his culinary platform with the flavors of many cultures through extensive travel. When not working, Chef Noah enjoys traveling and spending time with close friends and family.