Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome guest blogger, Lucy Burdette

Please welcome our guest blogger Lucy Burdette. 

Lucy is the author of the brand new Key West food critic mysteries. 

As Roberta Isleib, she’s also written the golf lover’s and advice column mysteries. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime.  And she's fabulous!  

(Note: I am so sorry to all that this post is late this morning. My fault...Avery...I thought I had it posted weeks ago. Argh!] 

Lucy, my apologies. Take it away!

Leaning Tower of Eggplant

By Lucy Burdette  (

My brand new mystery series character, Hayley Snow, is not only an aspiring food critic, she’s a terrific home cook. As I wrote the first Key West food critic mystery, I knew I needed a few mouthwatering dishes for Hayley to whip up for her friends while they mulled over murder suspects and clues. Nothing helps a crime solution come together better than chopping and frying.

One of the most amazing dishes I’ve had in a restaurant over the past year was an eggplant appetizer (at the Guilford Bistro in Guilford, CT.) Tomatoes, fried eggplant, and mozzarella were interwoven and then topped with arugula and vinaigrette. Last fall, with a few white eggplants and heirloom tomatoes lingering in the garden, I decided to test this dish out for Hayley.

We call it The Leaning Tower of Eggplant.

2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise

2 large tomatoes, sliced (Don’t bother with this dish if they aren’t in season)

1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced


Greens, washed and torn, and arugula for the top

Unfortunately, I didn't read instructions about how to fry eggplant until right before I started the dish. So, too late to soak the eggplant in milk for 2 hours, I took the Sicilian mama's suggestion
about slicing it lengthwise and salting. This worked just fine.

Once the liquid beads on the salted slices, wash and dry them, then dip them in egg, followed by flour, and fry. (I used peanut oil for frying.)

When your eggplant slices are nicely browned and still warm, layer them with fresh mozzarella slices (fresh is crucial—the rubbery white stuff won’t do) and the garden tomatoes on a bed of greens. Sprinkle arugula and vinaigrette over the top. Serve while the eggplant is warm.

The leaning tower turned out to be gorgeous—and delicious—and will definitely make an appearance in A TASTE FOR MURDER! (NAL, January, 2012)

(For the vinaigrette, whisk a quarter to a half cup olive oil with a teaspoon of good quality mustard, add a teaspoon of water, and salt to taste, and whisk again. Then add balsamic vinegar to taste and whisk until smooth.)


Thank you, Lucy, for joining us today.

Follow Lucy on twitter (@LucyBurdette), or Facebook (Lucy Burdette author), or on her website (


  1. Lucy, love this eggplant recipe. It looks delicious! I can't wait to read A Taste of Murder. What a fun new series!


  2. What a gorgeous dish, and it sounds delicious, too!

    I'm looking forward to your series!

    ~ Krista

  3. Welcome Lucy the recipe looks really good. I will defiantly be checking out your new series. Thanks.

  4. I adore eggplant. This recipe sounds fantastic - and so does the new series!

  5. Thanks you guys for the nice comments. I love this website and am so glad to be here! So thanks Avery for hosting--a minor glitch is what we get for planning way too far in advance:). Because now the title of my first book has been changed to AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, still by me, Lucy, still coming in January! And the eggplant recipe has remained the same...

  6. Welcome, Lucy! And--what a great way to use eggplant! I'm never sure exactly how to use it...thanks for giving me such a wonderful recipe! I'll be looking forward to "An Appetite for Murder." :)

  7. Thanks Elizabeth/Riley! I love this eggplant dish and I don't always love it made other ways...

  8. Uh oh. Now I'm starving.

  9. Welcome, Lucy! Once upon I time I thought eggplant was tough and bitter, but I've learned better. And since my local farmers' market stocks at least six kinds, I'm definitely looking for recipes!

  10. Welcome to the Kitchen, Lucy! I come from a big, Italian-American family so eggplant is an old friend. :)

    The leaning tower approach is a fun idea. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today, along with the news of your series launch. Congrats! It sounds like a winner!

    ~ Cleo

  11. Six kinds of eggplant, that's amazing! I forgot to say, when I make this dish, it's the entire meal--we just pig out on it! Would be fun to taste test all the different varieties and see what worked best...

    Also would love to hear from you food-writing veterans how you keep the food coming in your mysteries without slowing down the story?

  12. This looks delicious! And maybe even possible, even for this unskilled cook. Thanks for posting the instructions.

  13. Welcome, Lucy! This is a really snazzy recipe - I look forward to trying it.