Grilled Eggplant Caprese Salad With Smoked Mozzarella & Basil Buttermilk Dressing

I don't eat eggplant often, but when I do I often make this recipe because it is super easy and delicious.  Eggplant is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and actually good for the brain.  It contains a phytonutrient called nasunin that has been shown to protect cells from damage.  So, eat it up!  It's good for you body, brain and can taste pretty darn good if you cook it the right way.  I love grilling eggplant.  It lends a smoky flavor to this purple vegetable.  

This recipe serves 4.

1 Eggplant, sliced and grilled
2 large tomatoes, sliced
8oz Smoked Mozzarella, sliced thin
1 loaf thick crusty bread, sliced and grilled

Basil Buttermilk Dressing
1 Cup basil
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
2/3 Cup Buttermilk
Lemon Juice, to taste
Salt, to taste

Make the dressing one day ahead.  Simply place all ingredients in a small food processor, and blend until smooth.  Season with salt.  

For the salad, place eggplant slices in a colander set inside a large bowl. Toss eggplant with kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Wipe eggplant dry with paper towels.

Light one chimney full of charcoal.  When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush both sides eggplant slices lightly with oil. Place on the grill and cook until well browned on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill.  Now, grill the bread in the same manner.

Place one thick slice of bread on the plate and layer eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella on top of bread.  Drizzle with Basil Buttermilk Dressing. 

Heather Poast