Grill up some Napoleons
If your garden – or your generous neighbor’s garden – is producing a plethora of zucchini these days, let Napoleon come to the rescue.
[cleeng_content id="735676558" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]The classic Napoleon is a French dessert made with puff pastry and layers of whipped cream, but lately the term has expanded to include any dish featuring layers. This savory recipe calls on grilled zucchini and a variety of other fresh produce.
No surplus zucchini? No problem. The Panhandle is home to many wonderful farm stands as well as farmer’s markets offered each week in Charles Town, Shepherdstown, Bardane and elsewhere, where shoppers can pick up just-picked zucchini and other vegetables perfect for this creation, including eggplant, onion and tomato. (For market times, locations and other details, go to wvfarmers.org.)
Napoleons are pretty and easy to serve – perfect for a casual summer dinner or a hearty, hand-held first course at a barbecue or other outdoor gathering, but if you’d prefer not to make separate stacks, simply layer the veggies and ricotta mixture in a dish for a colorful casserole.
You’ll find this recipe is also wonderfully flexible. Feel free to substitute or add vegetables such as red peppers or new potatoes or to swap the thyme and rosemary for basil, thyme, even mint.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut in 12 slices
3 medium zucchinis, cut in 24 slices
3 large tomatoes, cut in 6 slices
3 medium red onions, cut in 12 slices
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced quarter-inch thick
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat grill and set to low. Brush vegetables with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill slowly until tender, turning once.
Transfer the vegetables to a tray, arranging them in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
In a small bowl, blend ricotta, thyme, salt and pepper. On a lightly oiled grill sheet or foil pan, place one slice of eggplant and top with one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture.
Next, add two slices of zucchini, a slice of onion, a slice of mozzarella, a slice of tomato and two more slices of zucchini. Spread another tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and top with another slice of eggplant.
Repeat this procedure with the remaining vegetables to make five additional stacks. Now insert a wooden skewer through the center of each stack to create a hole from top to bottom. Remove the bottom leaves from each rosemary sprig, leaving an inch of leaves on top and place one sprig into the hole in the center of each napoleon.
Return stacks to the grill to heat on low for another 10 minutes or so, just until the mozzarella melts and vegetables have warmed through.