RECIPE: Rigazzi’s Eggplant Stack

RECIPE: Rigazzi’s Eggplant Stack

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The Eggplant Stack at Rigazzi's

The Eggplant Stack at Rigazzi's is listed as a salad, but this lush variation on a Caprese salad theme eats more like an entree. The meaty eggplant contrasts well with the fresh tomatoes and creamy eggplant. The bright dressing and the snap of arugula deepens the flavors of each ingredient. Photo by Pat Eby

Yield: 1 serving

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon 2-percent milk

1 cup cream cracker fine breading crumbs (see note)

1 ½ cups washed and dried arugula

3 slices peeled eggplant, ½-inch thick, about 4 inches in diameter

2 slices of large tomato, 3/8-inch thick, about 4 inches in diameter

2 slices of fresh mozzarella, 3/8-inch thick, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter

½ cup Rigazzi’s balsamic salad dressing divided

1 large red grape tomato

1 extra-large black olive

Notes: Rigazzi’s uses a deep fryer to make the eggplant slices for this dish. If you own a deep fryer, follow the directions from the manufacturer to fry the slices. We give directions for pan-frying.

• Have all the elements ready for this dish before you begin the preparation.

• The breading at Rigazzi’s is a fine cream cracker crumb. You will find this type of breading at grocers or online packaged as McCormick’s Golden Dipt Cracker Meal. Nutz.com also sells a fine cracker meal online as well.

• Rigazzi’s balsamic dressing is available for sale at the restaurant. If you choose another commercial dressing, find one that is thick and well-emulsified.

• You will need large skewers for this recipe. They are generally found either in the baking department or wares departments in grocery stores.

1. Pour the vegetable oil into a 9-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil begins to glisten.

2. While the oil is heating, make an egg wash. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl big enough to hold the eggplant slices. Whisk the milk into the egg and set aside.

3. Place the fine cream cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl.

4. Test that the oil is hot by flicking a drop of water on the surface. It should skitter and pop.

5. Dip an eggplant slice into the egg wash, coating both sides, then place in the cream cracker crumb, again coating both sides and the edges. Repeat with all slices.

6. Place the slices in the skillet and cook until lightly browned on all sides. The eggplant should be soft enough to cut easily with a fork. Drain on paper towels.

7. To assemble the stack, place a bed of arugula on a large salad plate or oval platter. Place an eggplant slice on the bottom. Spread with 1 tablespoon balsamic dressing, top with a slice of tomato, and a slice of mozzarella.

8. Place the second eggplant slice on the stack and repeat the sequence above.

9. Close the stack with the third slice. Thread the olive, then the grape tomato on the point end of a 6-inch round wooden skewer and slide them up, then carefully drive the skewer through the center of the stack.

10. Serve with a dipping dish of remaining dressing placed near the stack.

Per serving: 970 calories; 53g fat; 33g saturated fat; 232mg cholesterol; 36g protein; 93g carbohydrate; 14g sugar; 8g fiber; 1,637mg sodium; 600mg calcium

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