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Vegetable and Goat Cheese “Lasagna”

Updated February 23, 2016
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This tapa in the new style from the Terrabuca tapas bar in Madrid, featuring lots of fresh vegetables layered with goat cheese, looks like lasagna but there’s no pasta. I like to serve it over a tart, intense purée of arugula and watercress (the recipe will make more purée than you need here, but it’s also great dabbed on a salad or mixed into a salad dressing. And although the ingredient list looks long, this healthy, delicious, and flavor-filled tapa is easy to assemble and can be done in advance.

Serves8

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course, tapas/small plates

Dietary Considerationlow carb, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, savory, sharp

Type of Dishvegetable

Ingredients

  • Two ¼-pound baby eggplants (about 4½ inches long), ends trimmed, skin partially removed, and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 bunch (about 4 ounces) arugula, stems trimmed
  • 1 bunch (about 6 ounces) watercress, stems trimmed
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Two ¼-pound zucchinis, ends trimmed (about 4½ inches long), cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices
  • About 3 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut from a 1½-inch-wide log, in 1/8-inch crosswise slices
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
  • ¼ pound cherry tomatoes, in ½-inch slices, ends discarded
  • 2 teaspoons nonpareil capers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • About 3 ounces mushrooms, preferably oyster mushrooms, separated into ears, or other mushrooms like shiitake, in ¼-inch lengthwise slices
  • 4 piquillo peppers, or 2 pimientos, preferably home prepared, cut in long 1/8-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons grated well-cured Manchego or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle well with salt. Let sit 1 hour. Toast the pine nuts in the oven for 3–4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Reserve. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F. Place the arugula, watercress, and salt in a food processor and purée, adding a little water if necessary. Beat in the 6 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, sugar, and pepper. Taste for salt.

In a greased baking dish, about 8 × 11 inches, preferably Pyrex, place 8 of the zucchini slices in a single layer. Cover each with cheese, and sprinkle with the paprika. Cover with a single row of tomatoes, then dot with a few capers. Pat the eggplants dry and continue layering with an eggplant slice, garlic, mushrooms, and piquillos.

Sprinkle the layered vegetables with the pine nuts and basil, add another layer of eggplant, and end with a second layer of zucchini. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the grated cheese and parsley [May be made ahead]. Bake about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

To serve, spoon a tablespoon or so of the purée onto 8 individual plates and top each with a “lasagna.”

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