Monday, February 16, 2009

Impressed by Rachel Ray?

So don't ask me why, but awhile ago I ened up watching an episode of 30 Minute Meals during my post-work zone out time. It was a vegetarian episode, so I was curious enough to sit through her twittering. She made two dishes, one of which was an underwhelming orzo salad. Mixing together orzo, feta, spinach, and sundried tomato - holy shit, what a revelation! Let's pay you millions of dollars to write books and go on TV! Luckily she made up for that creative failure with the main dish: eggplant steaks. These exceeded every expectation I had of them. They will definitely get made again at our house. You can search for the original recipe if you'd like on the Food Network site, but I modified it a little and my version is as follows:

Mediterranean Eggplant Cutlets (sounds way better than "Eggplant Steak" - EW)
-1 medium eggplant, ends trimmed, sliced into four thick slices lengthwise. Slice off the rounded end on the two slices so that all pieces are uniform thickness.
-2 red peppers, cut in half and seeded
-olive oil
-S&P (sea and freshly ground, respectively)
-spinach - 4 c. fresh or 1/2 package frozen (if it's frozen thaw and drain it first)
-14 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (can sub some sundried if you'd like, or omit)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-tub o' hummus
-bread crumbs (I used Italian for extra flavor, and bc that's what we had!)

Fire up the grill (or cast iron grill pan) and preheat the oven to 400F. Once the grill is hot, brush both sides of each eggplant slice with olive oil, S&P, and throw on the grill for 3-4 minutes a side. Put the red peppers on now, too, skin side down. They will need a solid 10 minutes or so to get nice and roasty.

Meanwhile (or after the grilling is done, depending on your multitasking abilities) heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Sautee the garlic for a few minutes, being careful not to burn it. Add the well-drained tomatoes and roasted red peppers and sautee for another three minutes or so. Add the spinach and heat through.

Line up the grilled eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Top evenly with veggie mixture. Next, spread with hummus. You want to use up the entire tub. I know, I know, it sounds really weird, but just do it. Lastly, top with an even layer of bread crumbs atop the hummus. Pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread crumbs begin to brown.

I served mine with some freshly cooked millet and it was v. tasty. Any other hot grain would do, as well as pasta, potato dish, fresh bread, etc., etc. Oh, and if you like things saucy marinara pairs nicely with this. Serves 4 with a side, 2 if you're really hungry or want lunch leftovers.

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