The key to nice presentation with this dish is using vegetables of approximately the same diameter. To make them really tidy and perfect, use a round cookie cutter to cut the vegetable and mozzarella slices to a uniform size and shape. Makes 8 stacks.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 whole red peppers
- 2 medium eggplant, cut in 16 slices (1/3" thick)*
- 2 large zucchini, cut in 16 slices (1/4" thick) crosswise
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut in 8 slices (1/3" thick)
- 4 small red onions, cut in 16 slices (1/3" thick)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 8 thick slices mozzarella cheese
- 8 long sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preparing the vegetables and filling: Preheat barbecue on MEDIUM/HIGH and place whole red peppers directly on the grill, charring the skin on all sides. Let cool, then peel off skins, remove seeds and ribs, and lay flat on a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter roughly the diameter of the remaining vegetables, cut 8 rounds of peppers and set aside. Freeze the scraps of red pepper to add to soups, pasta sauces, salads, etc.
- Brush the remaining prepared vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce flame to LOW and grill the vegetables slowly, until tender, turning once. Transfer the vegetables to a tray, arranging them in a single layer to cool, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The vegetables may be grilled one day in advance, and refrigerated after cooling. Bring them back to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
- Assembly: Stir together the ricotta cheese, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place one slice of eggplant on a lightly oiled baking sheet or foil pan. Spread a spoonful of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant. Stack with red pepper, zucchini, onion, mozzarella, tomato, another zucchini, and another onion. Spread another spoonful of ricotta over the onion and top with another slice of eggplant. Repeat this procedure with the remaining vegetables to make 7 more stacks.
- Insert a wooden skewer through the center of each stack and return the vegetables to the barbecue on the baking sheet.
- Heat for about 10 minutes on LOW or until the cheese is melted and the vegetables are warmed through. Remove the bottom leaves from each rosemary sprig, leaving one inch of leaves on the top. Pull out the skewers and insert one prepared rosemary sprig into the centre of each stack.
- *NOTE: Before cooking, place sliced eggplant on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Cover with another layer of paper towels and let sit for 20–30 minutes. This removes the bitterness from the eggplant.
Recipe from Gathering Around The Grill Cookbook