Caprese reinvented….

Everyone is familiar with the famous Italian Caprese salad. Most people tend to pronounce it incorrectly (it’s cah-preh-zeh) but nonetheless it’s a beloved appetizer by many Americans and can be found on almost any Italian restaurant menu. Caprese is so simple, yet it can definitely be mangled. Since typically there are only 4 ingredients it’s imperative to use quality ingredients–ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella in brine, fresh basil, and high quality olive oil. This recipe is an interpretation on the classic caprese and it actually came out pretty good! Little pat on the back! 😉

This recipe involves no meat (sorry, you meat loving men) but is still hearty due to the….wait for it…… eggplant. Eggplant?? Yes! In order to add some more substance to this appetizer and transform it into a main course I decided to add pan-fried eggplant. Also, instead of fresh basil leaves I used some homemade pesto. This can still be used as an appetizer or as an entrée for Meatless Monday!

Here’s what you need:

5-6  1/2 in. slices of eggplant

5-6 slices of fresh mozzarella

a handful of arugula

1 cup of breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

1.5 cups of oil, (I used peanut oil)

5-6 slices of tomato

salt/pepper

2-3 tbsp. of homemade pesto (find the link to the recipe above)

Here’s what you do:

You need to get the water out of the eggplant. You can do this by salting the slices heavily with coarse kosher salt and letting them sit for 15 minutes. Make sure to wipe off the water and salt and do the same to the other side. Pat them dry with paper towels.

Dredge your eggplant slices in the beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs. Heat up your oil very hot and fry the eggplant slices until golden brown. Place on a paper towled plate to soak up the excess oil.

Assemble in a tower!  Fun! Eggplant, smear some pesto on the eggplant, tomato slice, arugula, and finish with a fresh mozzarella slice. Season with salt/pepper and place a few dollops of pesto around the plate. This will make it look fancy and have your guests oooooo-ing and aaaahhhh-ing. 🙂

A tower of deliciousness

Happy Cooking!

–Melissa

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Categories: Appetizers, Pasta/Italian, Recipes, Side dishes, Vegetarian

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