Summers in Germany can be quite unusual. There will be days when we’re lucky and we get the perfect 25 degree weather. Some days the temperature would drop to 16 degrees and the sky would be grey and cloudy. Occasionally, the temperature would reach about 29-30 degrees and sunlight would be so intense that you will feel like the rays are piercing through your skin (nanunuot). Sure it’s hotter than that in Manila, but imagine having the same temperature, without the humidity. Pictured it? Good.
It’s days like these when I don’t feel like eating the normal rice & viand dinner. It’s too warm and too heavy for a hot summer night. What I would do instead, if the ingredients are available, would be to prepare grilled eggplants and a caprese. They are still savory but cold and light.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
1 Eggplant, cut into thin slices
1 clove of garlic, cut into thin slices
salt to taste
Put grill pan on high heat. Lay down the eggplant slices on the pan without overlapping them. Flip over the eggplant slice when it has observably thinned out or you’ve observed charring on the heat exposed side.
When a batch is finished, layer the eggplant slices on top of a flat surface. Drizzle each layer with oil, sprinkle with parsley, garlic slices and a little bit of salt. Add the next batch of eggplant slices on top, and repeat the seasoning step until all the slices are used up.
- 1 round tomato, cut into 0.5 cm slices
- 1 ball of mozzarella, drained
- Olive oil
- oregano or fresh basil
- salt to taste
Let the mozzarella sit on top of a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid. In the mean time, slice the tomatoes evenly. Try to slice the mozzarella in such a way that it matches the number of tomato slices.
Arrange your tomatoes and mozzarella on a plate. You can either put the mozzarella on top of a tomato slice or you can lay them down alternately around your plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle some dried oregano or some fresh basil on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella. Sprinkle salt to taste.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Less than 30 minutes of preparation. With proper organization and timing, the two dishes can be prepared in less than half an hour. Here’s how I would organize it.
The rate determining step in the preparation would be the grilling of the eggplant. It highly depends on how efficient your stove is. In my case, the hot plate does not give sufficient heat to rapidly brown the eggplant. Making one batch allows me the time to completely prepare the caprese.
Set aside the garlic after. I am a big believer that garlic is good for your health. It does not however do wonders for your social life. People who have a garlic-rich diet tend to have a certain scent that does not always agree with other people (unless of course you’re all eating the same thing). I know our moms taught us to always finish off a plate, but avoid the urge to pop the garlic into your mouth just because it’s there.
Cold grilled eggplant for tomorrow’s lunch. When I combine these two together for dinner, I would normally eat the caprese first. After I finish all the tomatoes and mozzarella, I eat the grilled eggplant until I’m somewhat full. The rest I store in the refrigerator to be used as a side dish for the next day’s lunch.
Add parmesan cheese to the list of ingredients above and you have everything you need to make an aubergine parmegiana. The preparation time of course would be probably double.
So yeah, try it out and let me know if you were able to beat the 30-minute time limit 🙂