Seared Baby Eggplant with Mozzarella and Basil Oil

It sounds incredibly decadent, doesn’t it?


Seared Baby Eggplant with Mozzarella and Basil Oil


Serves 6 3

  • Basil Oil
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 Tbs
  • Eggplant
  • 3 4 baby eggplants (1 lb.), sliced into 30 ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 3 leek, halved, white and light green parts cut into half-moons
  • 4 Tbs. white wine vinegar, divided + 2 Tbs
  • 1 6-oz. ball fresh mozzarella, sliced into 6 rounds
  • 2 Tbs. capers


  1. To make Basil Oil: Blanch basil 5 seconds in 4 cups boiling, salted water. Drain, and plunge into ice water. Pat basil dry, (I just forgot) then purée in blender with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Strain oil with mesh strainer, and discard basil. I added more oil and couldn’t get it to strain. Not sure what I did wrong but I just left it as was.
  2. Generously salt eggplant slices, and set in colander placed over bowl. Let stand 45 15 minutes to release liquid. (I’m impatient.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add leek, season with salt, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to bowl.
  4. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Add half of eggplant slices, and season with salt. Cook 5 minutes, or until browned and caramelized, using spatula to move slices often to prevent sticking. Flip eggplant with spatula, add 2 Tbs. vinegar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until vinegar has evaporated and second side of eggplant is caramelized. Remove eggplant slices to covered bowl to keep warm. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
  5. To serve: Place mozzarella slices on serving plates. Top each cheese slice with 5 slices eggplant, 1 Tbs. leek, 1 Tbs. Basil Oil, and sprinkling of capers. Season with salt and pepper.


I chose to serve them over whole wheat noodles to bulk up the meal.


At the first couple of bites, I wasn’t duly impressed. But it grew on me.


The capers were the secret.


By the end, I was basically licking my bowl. But it was a labor-intensive meal for the results. I feel like it could have been done more efficiently – and I think I would have preferred to just use pesto instead of “basil oil” that I failed miserably at making. I am definitely going to keep the idea in my mind but I think it will be executed differently next time.


When I got home from work and got changed, we took Pippin out to get the mail. Then after dinner, we took her on a half hour walk around our neighborhood and found a great field for her to play in!


I love that she’ll make us more active! We have to tucker her out or else she’ll keep us up all night! I also love that she does so well off-leash! My last dog was an Akita and was not to be trusted.

Bat ears!




One Response

  1. […] eggplant/pasta dish with loads of the basil […]

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