Showing posts with label vegetable harvest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetable harvest. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eggplant, Tomato, Basil, and Cheese Timbales

Thanks to Heather at Flour Girl, there’s a new group that’s all about cooking with CSA goods. Since I’m always going on about my CSA, I had to join. My most recent pick-up from Hands of the Earth Farm included eggplant, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, zucchini, pattypan squash, and yellow squash along with some chiles, onions, and edamame on the stem. There were two baby-sized Japanese eggplants and one small one of the Mediterranean variety. I had an idea of how I wanted to use them, but I wasn’t sure how well it would work given their diminutive size. This dish is found in Vegetable Harvest by Particia Wells. It’s a compacted mini-terrine of sorts with eggplant, roasted cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh basil leaves, and basil oil, and it screams summer from the plate.

This recipe requires that a couple of items be prepared in advance. That adds to the overall time of an otherwise very simple dish, but these steps are well worth the additional effort. One of those items is basil oil, and this is the same basil oil I posted about last October. It’s a great use of abundant homegrown basil, and the oil can be kept refrigerated and used for 10 days. The other extra step is roasting cherry tomatoes, but if you know how delicious those are then you know this step is not only justified but necessary. So, once you have the basil oil and roasted cherry tomatoes, all you have to do is broil long, thin slices of eggplant and begin layering. The cooked eggplant pieces were used to line ramekins while partially overhanging the top edges. A few roasted cherry tomatoes were set on top of the eggplant in the ramekins, then a couple of basil leaves were placed on the tomatoes, then some goat cheese was pressed on the basil, more basil went on the cheese, and then the overhanging eggplant was folded in and pressed into place. The timbales could be prepared up to this point in advance. The ramekins were then placed under the broiler for a few minutes to heat through.

Thankfully, the timbales popped right out of the ramekins without any problems and were served with basil oil and some chopped basil leaves. It’s a simple combination that could be put together a thousand other ways, but the compacted timbales had a nice, presentable look about them for the most part. Mine were somewhat short and squat and lacked complete eggplant coverage in some spots due to the size of eggplant I used. I’d like to make this again with full-sized specimens now that I know how simple it is. There are only a few ingredients used here, but they combine perfectly into tasty, little savory packages with the added boosts of flavor from the roasted tomatoes and basil oil. I always try to make good use of everything from our CSA, and I was happy with this result. Next, I’ll be searching high and low through books and files for zucchini recipes for what’s sure to be a deluge.

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