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Roasted Vegetable Towers and Manchego Crostini with Sherry Vinaigrette - Torres de Verduras Asadas con Crostini de Queso Manchego y Vinagreta de Jerez

Makes 3 servings.

Prep Time: 30 min.

Cook Time: 1 hr. 25 min.

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1 small eggplant, cut into 6 slices, 1/4-inch thick
1 small potato, cut into 6 slices, 1/4-inch thick
1 Spanish onion, cut into 6 slices, 1/4-inch thick
3 Portabella mushrooms
1 cup piquillo peppers, cut in chunks
12 ounces Mahón cheese, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
12 slices French bread, 1/4-inch thick
4 ounces Manchego cheese, grated
12 ounces arugula or other bitter greens
For the Sherry vinaigrette:
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1- 1 1/2 tsp Spanish pimentón
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup Spanish olive oil

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare sherry vinaigrette. In a shallow non-reactive pan place eggplant, potato, onion, and mushrooms; pour 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette over vegetables; marinate for 30 minutes. Drain off excess marinade. Arrange vegetables in a single layer in an oiled shallow baking pan(s); roast until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Prepare 3 vegetable towers by layering equal amounts of vegetables and cheese for each tower, in the following order: Portabella, Piquillo peppers, eggplant, potato, onion, and Mahon cheese; repeat with Piquillos, eggplant, potato, onion, and Mahon. Place stacks in a shallow pan; broil until tops are browned and bubbly. Meanwhile, make Manchego crostinis by spooning diced tomato over French bread slices; sprinkle with grated Manchego cheese; broil until cheese is golden brown. Toss arugula with reserved vinaigrette. On serving plates, arrange warm vegetable towers over arugula; serve with Manchego crostinis.

Sherry vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, combine sherry vinegar, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil until blended. Yield: 2/3 cup

By Dara Dumbs of the Culinary Institute of America
Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.

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