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Grilled Eggplant & Mozzarella Stacks with Pistachio Basil Pesto

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 3-4 Servings

Ingredients

1 Large Eggplant cut into 1 inch slices (roughly 12 slices)

2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

16 oz packet of mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch slices

Seasoning Mix:

1 tsp oregano

2 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp red chili flakes

⅛ tsp salt 

Pistachio Basil Pesto:

1/2 cup shelled pistachios

3 cloves garlic 

20 leaves of basil 

½ cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese 

1 serrano pepper  or jalapeno pepper

1 tsp red wine vinegar 

¼ cup or more of high quality extra virgin olive oil 

Freshly cracked black pepper

Salt to taste

Instructions

Prepare the Pesto:

In a food processor combine the pistachios, garlic, basil, serrano and pecorino romano until well blended. Once it is blended slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream until the contents of the food processor look like they are moving around well and look more like a sauce instead of crumble.  (this might require extra oil).

Transfer into a bowl, check for salt (pistachios if salted and cheese will already add salt) add black pepper, red wine vinegar and set aside.

Grill the Eggplant:

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.  Add about 1 tbsp of oil and once the pan is hot, add 4 eggplant slices , or however many fit comfortably in the pan. Let the eggplant sear for about 2 minutes on high (so you get nice grill marks) and then turn the heat to medium and let it cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Flip the eggplant slices, and let them cook for about 4-6 minutes on medium to medium low heat until the eggplant looks soft, and the center looks more translucent. You want the eggplant to be just fork tender- not overcooked or undercooked.

Once the eggplant is cooked, transfer it to a plate and sprinkle with about ½ tsp of the seasoning mix all over both sides of the eggplant. Continue the process until you’ve grilled all of the eggplant.

Assemble the Stacks:

Place the oven on low broil setting.

On a rimmed baking sheet or any oven proof casserole dish, lay down the eggplant slices about 1 inch apart and spread with about 2 tsp of the pesto. Top with a slice (or two )  of the mozzarella cheese and place in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese begins to slightly melt.

Once the cheese has melted, remove the eggplant from the oven and make the stacks.

Stacking order:

Eggplant, Pesto, Mozzarella, Tomato Slice, Eggplant, Pesto, Mozzarella, Tomato Slice, Eggplant, Pesto Mozzarella. Garnish the top the stack with basil and drizzle with garlic chutney and transfer to a serving platter or plate.

Recipe by The Chutney Life at https://thechutneylife.com/recipes/appetizers/grilled-eggplant-mozzarella-stacks-with-pistachio-basil-pesto/