These eggplant stackers come together quickly, and the recipe allows for multiplexing (spoken like a true scientist) so you can prepare, assemble, and bake all at the same time! Just like I introduced you to chili's more sophisticated older sister, this is eggplant parmigiano's fancy cousin. The textures coordinate nicely (like a strand of pearls and some black stilettos) and there is a palate pleasing balance of baked gooey goodness and fresh bite. The fried eggplant slices are surrounded by a lush pillow of cheese and it is all accessorized by a fresh and zesty tomato sauce. I served mine with garlic sautéed swiss chard. And most importantly, start to finish I walked into the kitchen to start dinner and then out of the dining room satiated in about 1 hour. Ironically enough, I had to rush out the door so I could go and take that tumble I was just talking about... So while I recommend you make this, I don't recommend taking a fall for dessert!
Recipe adapted from Meatless Monday at Recipe.com
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 cup all-purpous flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 vegetable oil
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the eggplant into pieces about 1/4" thick.
- Lay out the slices, sprinkle on some salt, and set aside for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and thoroughly pat dry.
- Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the eggplant in this mix.
- Heat up the oil in a medium non-stick skillet over high heat.
- Fry the eggplant in batches of 3-4 for about 2 minutes per side.
- Drain on paper towel.
- While the eggplant is frying, mix together the ricotta with the italian seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- To assemble the stackers, start with an eggplant slice and smooth on about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta. Continue with this alternating until you have 4 eggplant slices, with 3 layers of cheese in between.
- I was assembling the stackers as the eggplant was coming out of the oil.
- This will make about 3 stacks.
The originally recipe called for adding cheddar cheese to the ricotta, which I didn't do because I didn't want it to get too greasy. In retrospect, the cheddar cheese would have been a delicious and welcomed addition. The other change I would make would be to coat the eggplant slices in bread crumbs before frying as opposed to sprinkling them on top at the end. I hope this recipe has shown that you can put forward seemingly gourmet meals in only minutes without having to sacrifice on quality!