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Vegetable Napoleon

The classic napoleon is layers of puff pastry filled with pastry cream or whipped cream, but nowadays the definition has grown to embrace almost anything, sweet or savory, that is layered. Roasted vegetables, which are pliant and colorful, make a particularly wonderful napoleon. Eggplant, zucchini, onion and tomato are the choices here, and the roasted yellow pepper puree makes an attractive—and easy—sauce. If you like, substitute basil or thyme for the mint.

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled and
      seeded
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 small eggplant, about 3/4 lb., trimmed and cut
      lengthwise into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (8
      slices total)
  • 1 zucchini, about 1/2 lb., trimmed and cut
      lengthwise into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
      (4 slices total)
  • 1 yellow onion, about 6 oz., cut crosswise into
      slices 1/4 inch thick (4 slices total)
  • 1 tomato, about 6 oz., cut crosswise into slices
      1/4 inch thick (4 slices total)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for
      garnish
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the roasted pepper and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and process until a coarse puree forms. Add the wine and process until nearly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Arrange the eggplant, zucchini, onion and tomato slices in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (or use 2 sheets). Brush with 1 1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Turn the slices and brush with the remaining 1 1/2 Tbs. oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with the garlic and oregano.

Roast the vegetables, turning once, until tender when pierced with a fork and tinged with brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the tops of the vegetables with the 1/2 cup feta cheese. Continue to roast until the cheese is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Using a spatula, place an eggplant slice on each individual plate. Then layer in the following order: a zucchini slice, an onion slice and a tomato slice, placing 1 or 2 mint leaves and a few sprinkles of vinegar between each layer. Top with a second eggplant slice. Drizzle the roasted pepper sauce on top of the napoleons and garnish with the remaining mint leaves and feta cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Roasting, by Barbara Grunes (Simon & Schuster, 2002).