Friday, May 10

Eggplant with Figs and Mozzarella

I want to be a fan of eggplant, I really do.  So many health benefits and negligible calories makes it the "perfect" food. If only I could figure out how to cook it! After several failed recipes I was ready to give up but I think I may finally have found a winner.

Eggplants are loaded with dietary fiber which is essential for regulating digestion.  Fiber is also helpful for dieters as it's slow digesting and takes a long time to move from the stomach to the digestive track. This helps you feel full much longer which will keep you from craving unhealthy snack food between meals. The figs in this recipe give you an additional dose of fiber keeping you full even longer and giving your digestive system an extra boost. Oh, and it's delicious.
1 large eggplant cut in half
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella or burrata, thinly sliced
1 leek, peeled with a Julienne peeler
5 fresh or rehydrated figs*
5-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
oil, 4 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Starting in the upper left hand corner of one of the eggplant halves and moving downwards toward the right, make four incisions. Repeat from right to left creating hashmarks. Do this in both halves and, in each incision, arrange the cloves of garlic. Spray or brush the eggplants with olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
Meanwhile preheat 3 tbsp of oil and cook the halved cherry tomatoes for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened. Remove from heat and set aside. In another pot place the vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce vinegar to a thick syrup.
Remove the eggplant halves from the oven and top with slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and halved figs. Place in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until mozzarella is slightly melted and the rest of the toppings are warm.
Drizzle eggplants with the reduction sauce and sprinkle with leeks.


*Fresh figs have a very short season. If you can't find them purchase plump dried figs and cover them with boiling water (stove turned off.) Cover the pan and let them sit for 2-4 hours. You can also add a liqueur like brandy to give them a little extra flavor;)

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