To prepare this appetizer indoors, simply broil the eggplant rounds until browned, and continue the recipe as instructed. White balsamic vinegar offers the sweetness of regular balsamic but won’t discolor the salad. You can use regular balsamic vinegar if white isn’t available.
Yield: 8 servings
• 1 (1 1/4-pound) eggplant (about 4-inch diameter), peeled
• Cooking spray
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 2 3/4 cups chopped fennel bulb (about 1 large bulb)
• 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
• 2 cups trimmed arugula
• 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
• 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1. Prepare grill to medium heat.
2. Cut eggplant crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Lightly coat both sides of eggplant slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 7 minutes on each side or until browned. Set eggplant slices aside.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fennel and onion; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
4. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, arugula, vinegar, and oil in a medium bowl; toss gently to coat. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 8 appetizer plates; top each serving with 1 eggplant slice. Arrange about 1/3 cup fennel mixture on each eggplant slice; top with 2 tablespoons tomatoes and 1 tablespoon cheese. Sprinkle the chopped basil and thyme evenly over cheese.
Billy Strynkowski, Cooking Light