By Anna Harris, Assistant Editor, Public Affairs and Publications

It’s not often that beans become an impulse purchase, but after visiting the Organic Vegetable Project stand last Wednesday (every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Services Center Plaza), I found myself walking across campus with a 10-pound bag of beautiful yellow beans.

I’m imagining them in a simple gratin topped with crispy breadcrumbs.

There were also beautifully tiny, bright orange eggplants. Yellow wax beans. Summer tomatoes bursting with juice. Fresh eggs. Sweet pimentos. Little packets of nuts for snacking.

Overwhelmed?

Pick up some eggplants and tomatoes and try this:

Grilled Eggplant Stacks

eggplant

tomatoes

cheese

1. Slice your eggplant into ¼- to ½-inch rounds. If you are using a long, thin Japanese eggplant, slice lengthwise in half. One medium eggplant will yield approximately 15 slices.

2. Toss the slices in a colander with plenty of salt. Don’t be shy!

Let them sit at least 30 minutes in the colander or tumbled on a rack. The salt will drain the bitterness out of the vegetable.


3. While the eggplant is draining, thinly slice some cheese and tomatoes—one slice for each piece of eggplant. I used mozzarella for these pictures, but just about any melting cheese would work.

4. Pat the eggplant dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel. Top each round with a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato. Drizzle the stacks with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

5. Toss them on the grill for a couple minutes over hot coals. Then slide them over to your medium-low heat zone, close the grill cover, and cook until the eggplant is tender.

I ate these with brined pork chops and grilled flatbread.

They are also delicious next to grilled steak with chimichurri sauce drizzled over the meat and the eggplant. Or with anything that comes off the grill, really.

Grilled eggplant is easily adaptable: Add a basil leaf. Skip the tomato. Use cheddar cheese.

Make it your own.

And because I’m never one to waste a pile of hot coals, I like to do this:

Slice up a pile of summer veggies—squash, sweet peppers, onions—and marinate with olive oil, smushed garlic cloves, sprigs of thyme or basil, salt, and pepper. Toss them in a grill basket and cook over the residual coals while you’re eating your eggplant stacks.

Eat later in the week with roasted tomatoes over pasta, in burritos, tucked into enchiladas or lasagna, on pizza, with goat cheese as bruschetta…