Monday, May 3, 2021

A True Potluck Monday @LucyBurdette

 LUCY BURDETTE: we've all got so much going on, that this potluck Monday slipped under the radar. So I thought it might be fun to rerun the first recipe I ever did for the it is, moderated by Daryl Wood Gerber!

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!  

Leaning Tower of Eggplant

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 AN APPETITE 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.)


Lucy in the present: I can hardly believe the series is still going! #11, A SCONE OF CONTENTION, will be out on August 11. And we still love the eggplant dish, especially mid-summer when the tomatoes and eggplant are bursting in the garden.


  1. Thanks for the leaning tower of eggplant recipe. I'd never heard of soaking the eggplant in milk. I'll have to try that as an alternative to salting it.

  2. I'll be waiting until next month to try this. The first local tomatoes should be ready by then.

  3. What a great idea--sort of a mix of ratatouille and inslata caprese. I love eggplant, so definitely gonna have to try this!

  4. Still crazy after all these years. (responding to the 11th book coming out)

  5. I love eggplant and this recipe looks absolute fabulous!