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created by Chef Jeff Philbin
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We love local! All Chef Jeff's perishables were purchased at Bearrs Grove in the Lake Magdalene area of Tampa. We encourage you to shop local and support small businesses. Now, grab those aprons and enjoy...


  • 1½ pounds cherry tomatoes 

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) balsamic vinegar

  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • 5 large garlic cloves, 4 crushed, 1 grated

  • 3 medium Italian eggplants, about 6 to 8 inches long (about 4 lb total)

  • ½ cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided (plus more for grill)

  • 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs 

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves, or preferably a mix, loosely packed

  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 2 balls burrata cheese, room temperature. each split in quarters



For the Roasted Tomatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Add tomatoes and the 4 crushed garlic cloves to a baking dish (we used 9x13 inch), toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until tomatoes are soft, and skins blister and split, about 30 - 40 minutes. Set aside and reserve with any tomato liquid that may have collected. (Tomatoes can be roasted a day ahead)

For the Grilled Eggplant:

  1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat cooking (a grill pan on the stovetop will also work).

  2. Chop off the top and bottom ends and peel the eggplants partially in long vertical stripes. Slice eggplants into ½-inch thick rounds. Brush each round generously with olive oil (about 3 to 4 tablespoons, total) on both sides and season with salt and pepper. When grill is ready, cook until eggplant is soft and golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. If eggplant seems dry, brush on a little more oil while cooking. Remove from grill to a plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside. (Eggplant can be grilled a day ahead)


For the Garlic and Herb Breadcrumbs:

  1. Take a Ziploc bag and place over the course side of a box grater for the smallest grating. Take a garlic clove and rub over the placed bag to create a garlic paste. Collect that past

  2. On the stovetop, add 3 tablespoons oil and the garlic paste to a cold 8-inch skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook until the garlic sizzles and turns fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs, crushed red pepper flakes, and dried Italian seasoning and toss in the garlicky oil. Cook, stirring often, until crumbs turn golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl, let cool for a few minutes and then stir in parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Assemble dish by adding a layer of eggplant to a platter. Top with a layer of tomatoes, and a drizzle of the tomato cooking juices. Then add another layer of eggplant and tomatoes until all are used. Drizzle again with collected tomato juices. Nestle in chunks of burrata cheese, and sprinkle all over with garlic and herb breadcrumbs. Add a few basil leaves, if desired. And finish with a light drizzle of olive oil. 

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