Sunday, June 05, 2005


Melanzana Napoleon (Eggplant Napoleon)

AIME! AIME! AIME! (Italian for OH DEAR! OH DEAR! OH DEAR!) Bad news! Red tide has spread along the New England coast from Maine to Cape Cod. And weeks will pass before it is safe to eat shellfish! Lobster and fin fish are not affected, but what will Isabella do now that her beloved vongole are vietato!

We will always have melanzana. And no red tide can stop us from eating this royally purple vegetable.

I found this eggplant recipe in Tom Colicchio's How To Think Like a Chef. The dish is made with slices of eggplant and a roasted eggplant, mushroom, red pepper, and pinenut filling spread inbetween the stacks and served with a lemon vinaigrette. I made some minor changes to it and served it as a light Sunday night supper. I also served it with plain penne, but the pasta isn't needed. In fact, my dinner companion and I tossed out the pasta and ate the eggplant dish with the lemon vinaigrette, and it was perfect on its own.

This dish takes a little time, but that's the fun of cooking, isn't it?

Melanzana Napoleon (serves 2)

3 medium eggplants
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 ounces of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 medium red pepper
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup unflavored bread crumbs
sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish
lemon vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Take one of the eggplants, cut it in half, score the flesh, sprinkle the halves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplant's flesh is soft. Remove the two halves from the oven and cool.

While the eggplant is roasting, cut up the red pepper and saute in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until just tender in a small saute pan. Set aside, wash out the saute pan to use for sauteing the mushrooms. Clean and slice the mushrooms and saute in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until just cooked. Toast the pinenuts over medium heat in a small saute pan (no oil is used in toasting the pinenuts) until they just turn brown. Set cooked red pepper, mushrooms and toasted pinenuts aside.

After the eggplant halves cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out of the skins and place in a bowl. Add the red pepper, mushrooms, and toasted pinenuts, and salt and pepper to taste. (I added a teaspoon of lemon zest, and a squeeze of lemon to the mixture to brighten the flavors. This is optional.) Set this filling aside.

Take the two remaining eggplants and slice six rounds of about 1/2 inch thick (three rounds from each eggplant). I take the slices from the middle of the vegetable so that the thicknesses are even. Save what is left of the eggplants for making caponata or pasta al'Norma (recipes for these two dishes will be posted in the future). Take a paper towel and pat dry the eggplant slices.

Take three bowls and place the seasoned flour in the first, the slightly beaten eggs in the second, and the bread crumbs in the third. Take one of the slices of eggplant, place in the seasoned flour, pressing the flour so that it adheres to it. Shake off excess flour. Dip the floured slice into the slightly beaten egg, and then dip into the bread crumbs, again pressing the crumbs into the slices. Place the prepared slice on a clean dish. Repeat this procedure with the other five slices.

Place the remaining olive oil into a large frying pan so that it holds three slices of the prepared eggplant without crowding. Heat the olive oil until it slides around in the pan. Saute the breaded eggplant slices and drain on paper towels. Continue until all the slices are cooked and take on a golden brown color. Add more olive oil to the saute pan if needed.


On a cutting board or large work area, take one of the breaded and cooked slices of eggplant and spread it with the eggplant, red pepper, mushroom and pinenut filling. Add another slice, more filling and the third slice. Don't put on too much filling or the slices will slide off. Make a second stack with the breaded slices and filling. (You won't use up all the filling, so save it and spread it over warmed Tuscan bread the next day--it'll keep for a few days in the refrigerator).

Place two or three tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette on the bottom of a plate, carefully lift the eggplant napoleons onto the vinaigrette sauce, add a sprig or two of thyme to the top and serve.

This can also be served as an elegant first course, followed by a fish or chicken dish of your choice.


1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic, cut in quarters
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper

Squeeze enough juice from lemon to measure 1/3 cup. In a bowl combine lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in oil in a slow stream. Add garlic and thyme leaves. Vinaigrette may be made 3 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring vinaigrette to room temperature before proceeding, and take out garlic bits before serving.

Welcome back! The smoked salmon penne as well as this eggplant napoleon both sound (and look) great...
I have 2 guys in my family who love eggplant. I've already printed this out. I'll let you know how it comes out...I suspect your presentation is going to be just "a little bit" better!!
looks absolutely delicious!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Silktide SiteScore for this website