Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eggplant Piadina with Pesto Spread

My son Chuck, used to share an apartment with a young lady who was with him in the Navy.  Camie and Chuck were great friends and he would often bring her home when they had leave together so Camie became part of the family.

A couple of years ago, Camie got married and was restationed to Maryland from Virginia.  She finished her commitment to the Navy and is looking forward to the next chapter in this journey we call life.  As luck would have it, Camie's father (who is also military) was recently assigned duties here in Michigan and moved to the neighboring town.  Camie was in for a visit and contacted us so we had her over for dinner.

Camie came for dinner on a Meatless Monday which suited her very well as she eats very little meat. I had found a recipe in my latest issue of Cuisine at Home for an Italian Flatbread Sandwich called a Piadina.  Piadina's can be topped with any fillings but I chose to go with the Eggplant and Tomato toppings used in the recipe.  I did adapt the recipe by using homemade pizza dough and pesto instead of store bought as suggested.

Reminiscent of pizza, this open faced sandwich uses a ricotta/pesto spread instead of sauce.  It can be prepped ahead of time and once you are ready to have dinner takes only minutes to create.  I think this is going to become a regular in our household.  I will definitely try other toppings but it will be hard to beat this delicious Meatless Monday combo.

Eggplant Piadina with Pesto Spread
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #118

1/2 c. olive oil
juice from one lemon
2 t. garlic paste or minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 eggplant, cut into 12 slices
1/2 c. pesto, see my recipe here or use your favorite or store bought
1/4 c. ricotta cheese
2 t. lemon juice
2 T. fresh basil cut in chiffonade style (sliced thin)
1 lb. pizza dough, see my recipe here or make your favorite or buy from market
3 T. olive oil
12 slices fresh Mozzarella cheese
12 slices heirloom tomatoes
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Whisk together the 1/2 c. olive oil, lemon juice, garlic paste, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the eggplant slices in a baking dish and pour the olive oil mixture over the slices, turning to coat both sides.  Set aside until dinner time.

Combine the pesto, ricotta, 2 t. of lemon juice and fresh basil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces.  Stretch and roll each piece into an 8-10" round.  Brush olive oil on each side of the pizza rounds.  Heat a grill to high.  Grill the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until tender, flipping halfway through and topping the cooked half with a slice of Mozzarella cheese.  While the eggplant are cooking, place the dough rounds directly onto the grill rack and cook 1 or 2 minutes per side, until nice grill and char marks appear and the dough puffs nicely.  Remove the pizza rounds and the eggplant from the grill.  Spread 1/6 of the pesto mixture on each warm pizza round. Top with 2 slices of eggplant and 2 slices of tomato. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. Print Recipe

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