baking, dinner, eggplant, light lunch, tart, tomatoes, vegetarian
Sunday is by far my favorite day of the week. I usually don’t plan much for Sundays aside from Brunch or an early movie because it’s the day before the dreaded Monday and the last day of the weekend. So I do what relaxes me. Put on a movie, or blast the Green Day station on Pandora and zone out in the kitchen. It’s a ritual that I have been honoring for years.
I choose a somewhat labor intensive dish to make on Sunday because after coming home from work and walking Mickey, going to the gym or whatever, sometimes the last thing I want to do is be patient while dinner cooks. I have tried this in the past and what I have learned is, I am not a pleasant person to be around when I’m hungry. So when I started prepping Sunday meals and coming home to dinner in less than 15 minutes, that sunday ritual became mandatory.
When I spotted these beautiful babies at the Farmer’s Market, I knew they were eggplant but I had planned them for another recipe. I recently subscribed to Cooking Light magazine (soooo excited!) and now receive daily emails about what is for dinner. Something caught my eye and I began to peruse the site chocked FULL of amazing recipes. When I saw the Eggplant, Tomato, and Smoked Mozzarella tart, the plans for my eggplant changed. I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit according to the supply on hand.
For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400*.
Combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder, pepper and salt in a large bowl and whisk. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water and oil to the center of the well. Using either your hand (my preferred method) or a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients together to create a soft dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough four times. Make a 4 inch circle out of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for 15 minutes.
After the dough has chilled, roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap and press into a 9 inch tart. Making this tart makes me think of the Dude, who gave me this tart pan because he didn’t want to take it to his new home across the country. Paying homage to one of my bestest friends and his tart pan. Hi mike!
Pierce the dough after its been fitted into the tart pan with a fork and bake at 400* 20 minutes.
When the dough is baked, allow to completely cool. While it is cooling, prepare the filling for the tart.
1 eggplant (about 1 lb), cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices ( I used two small, but heavy eggplants)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 teaspoon oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1/8 tsp garlic powder)
(1/2 large spanish Onion, thinly sliced)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (3/4 tsp dried italian seasoning)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint (I don’t care for mint)
2 plum tomatoes (1 large beefsteak tomato)
1/2 cup shredded smoked mozzarella, divided (I used smoked gouda)
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
Crank up the oven to 450 and arrange eggplant on a nonstick cookie sheet. Roast eggplant for 20 minutes or until slightly browned. This particular eggplant that I used is a non-bitter eggplant. If using regular eggplant, you might want to soak the eggplant to eliminate the bitterness or salt the eggplant while roasting it.
Set the eggplant aside when its cooked and work on the sauce.
In a medium skillet, sauté the sliced onion in a tsp of oil over medium heat. I like the onions to be slightly sweet when making a tomato based sauce so I cook them until they start to caramelize a tiny bit. About 8 minutes. Add salt and garlic powder while constantly stirring the onion to prevent the spices from burning.
The recipe takes a turn here where I stop looking at the instructions and kinda do what feels right.
Lower the flame and add the tomatoes, basil, italian seasoning and stir. The tomatoes will break apart and create a rustic sauce. Its amazing to watch. and the smell! heavenly! Allow the sauce to simmer for 15 minutes on low. I tweaked my sauce at this point and added a tiny bit more garlic powder.
Remove the sauce from the heat and bring the oven back down to 400*.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the smoked gouda on to the crust. Add a spoonful of the tomato sauce. Layer the eggplant.
Please note that I used double the amount of eggplant this recipe called for.
Cover the eggplant with remaining sauce, smoked gouda and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400 for 10 –15 minutes or until cheese melts.
Allow tart to rest for a few minutes before removing from tart pan.
And allow tart to rest before slicing. This recipe makes 4 servings. I unknowingly calculated the calories without noting the serving size. the Serving size for this recipe is two slices.
So, tart makes 8 slices, you can serve yourself 2 slices.
I ate this as a light lunch. The tart warms beautifully in a toaster oven and can be bulked up with a side salad or plate of veggies.
As I write this, I sent my mother an apology for bringing her a tiny slice of this tart and telling her it was 8 Weight Watcher points. Its only now, long after she ate the tart that I apologize. Mothers know best. She looked at the tart scratching her head wondering how on the planet was that little slice 260 calories…
well. now we know.