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You Asked For It: Roasted Vegetable Napoleons

While visiting the Pacific Northwest recently, my husband and I dined at the 3 Rivers Grill in Hood River, Ore. We enjoyed the eggplant Napoleon so much we asked the server if the chef would share the recipe. She returned with a bit more information but not the recipe. In addition to eggplant it includes thinly sliced potatoes, pesto, peppers, onions and butternut squash. Maybe a reader will have a recipe to share.

Virginia Lieberman, Wesley Chapel

Spring Hill resident Cindy Shea did some research of her own about the 3 Rivers Grill recipe. She hopes this one is close to what Virginia remembers. While it is not exact, substitutions can certainly be made. For example you could substitute pesto for the ricotta mixture as well as substituting or adding veggies such as omitting the zucchini and adding butternut squash slices. I love roasted vegetables, and if you've never roasted them before, this recipe will make you a convert. Roasting concentrates the flavors, making them more pronounced. Roasting red onions takes away the bite or heat of the onion.

Roasting is easily accomplished in a few minutes in very hot oven. I roasted mine for about 10 minutes. Depending on the thickness, you may need to adjust that time. It's important to slice the veggies the same size so they cook evenly. I was mostly concerned the potatoes would not get done. I tested a few slices with a toothpick before removing them from the oven. Another option would be to grill the vegetables and proceed to stack them.

This is a versatile dish. You could certainly make a meal of it with a side of orzo or couscous but a smaller version could also be a great vegetable side for an entrée such as a grilled chicken breast.

Recipe requests

Sue Bley of St. Petersburg would like a butterscotch pie recipe. It has a light consistency like a chiffon pie, not heavier like a pumpkin pie. Tampa resident Pat Caldwell has unsuccessfully searched for two specialty cakes from the former Hough Bakery in Cleveland. They are no longer in business but she would appreciate help finding a coconut cake consisting of two layers of yellow or white cake with a mild lemon filling between the layers and a coconut frosting. The second cake is a maple chiffon cake.

Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, P.O. Box 1159, Crystal Beach, FL 34681 or email [email protected] Include your name, city and phone number.

Roasted Vegetable Napoleons

½ cup olive oil for brushing vegetables

1 pound eggplant, cut crosswise into -inch-thick slices

1 ¼ pounds zucchini, cut crosswise into -inch-thick slices

4 large plum tomatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds), cut into -inch-thick slices

2 medium red onions cut into -inch-thick slices

1 pound medium red potatoes, cut into -inch-thick slices

¾ cup ricotta

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

½ pound mozzarella, cut into six ¼ -inch-thick slices

6 fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 450 and brush two baking sheets with olive oil. Arrange as many vegetables as possible in one layer on sheets. Brush vegetables with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables in middle and lower thirds of oven, switching positions of sheets in oven half way through roasting, until just tender and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer vegetables as roasted to a tray, arranging them in one layer. Roast remaining vegetables in same manner. Vegetables may be roasted a day ahead, cooled completely, and chilled, layered between sheets of plastic wrap on trays and covered. Bring vegetables to room temperature before proceeding.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Put 1 eggplant slice on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture over eggplant. Cover ricotta mixture with 2 potato slices and layer with 2 zucchini slices, 1 onion slice, 1 mozzarella slice, 2 to 3 tomato slices, 2 zucchini slices, and 1 onion slice. Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture over onion and top with 1 eggplant slice. Make 5 more Napoleons using remaining vegetables, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella in same manner.

Insert a metal or wooden skewer through center of each Napoleon to make a hole from top to bottom. Trim rosemary sprigs to 1-inch taller than Napoleons and remove bottom leaves from each sprig, leaving about 1-inch of leaves around top. Insert 1 sprig into each Napoleon and bake in center of oven 5 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted and vegetables are heated through.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Cindy Shea of Spring Hill

You Asked For It: Roasted Vegetable Napoleons 09/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:30am]
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