Recipe by Chef Seth Smith, The Columns Hotel
Makes 6 servings
Preheat grill. Slice eggplant horizontally into 18 rounds, 1/2-inch thick. Place rounds in a large bowl and add thyme, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste, and toss until well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow eggplant to absorb the juices. Place eggplant rounds on grill over medium-high heat and cook until almost done, about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
For the tomato coulis, take tomato halves and season with chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper. Roast in 400°F oven for 15 minutes. Place roasted tomatoes in a saucepot with white wine, red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook down for 20 minutes over medium heat. After cooling, pour mixture into blender and purée. Pass liquid through a strainer to remove any remaining skin and chunks. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic and red onion in olive oil until transparent. Add fresh spinach and cook over medium heat until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and strain in colander to drain off excess water.
To assemble, place six eggplant rounds on a baking sheet. Top eggplant with wilted spinach, then one slice of Fontina cheese, and finish with one half of a roasted pepper. Repeat sequence. Finally, top with third piece of eggplant. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Assembly: To serve, pool the tomato coulis in the center of 6 plates. Place eggplant Napoleons on the coulis and garnish with fresh basil.