The Perfect Stack:
Crispy Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
1/2 small eggplant
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (or however thick you like)
3 slices of mozzarella, about 1/4 of a ball, sliced into desired thickness
3 small leaves of basil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar reduction
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
TIP: To make the balsamic reduction, simply heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the vinegar to reduce by half, or until it coats the back of a spoon **
For the Eggplant:
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with garlic cloves (switch garlic halves about half-way through).
Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl. One by one, place each piece of eggplant into the flour, press down lightly to coat the eggplant evenly. Tap lightly to remove extra flour.
Heat a large frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until glistening.
Add the eggplant slices and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Keep careful watch as not to burn them. If they brown too quickly, lower the heat.
Flip each slice over and cook the other side, until nice and crisp (and golden brown).
Remove from frying pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess oil.
To Assemble the Salad:
Place a piece of the fried eggplant on your plate, top with a slice of tomato, then 1 slice of mozzarella and top that with 1 leaf of basil. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up.
Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of olive oil (if desired).