Wasting away in the crisper for about a week has been an eggplant. It was a throw-away purchase from my last CNY Regional Market trip. One of the farms had a table of these for a buck apiece, so it was an easy pickup. But, a long week led to it dormancy in the bowels of my refrigerator.
Determined to make something from it, I rooted around my fridge today looking for some assistance. There was marinara and fresh mozzarella, which made things easy enough. A tub of Garlicky Goodness (more on that in a sec) joined the fray, as did the last two tomatoes on the counter.
I didn’t want to fry, but I also didn’t want to make a casserole. I was winging it here, so I decided to layer everything into a stack. But, I knew that the layered eggplant would take longer to cook, so I ran the slices through the oven to give them a headstart.
The end result? Well…
WHAT WORKED: Garlicky Goodness. This is a puree of garlic scapes made by the fine people at Empire Buffalo. I grabbed some of this at the Caz Farmers Market. It made a nice substitute from the everyday basil pesto. Also, cooking the eggplant slices for 15 to 20 minutes softens them perfectly.
WHAT DIDN’T: Forgetting that the baking pan I was using was hot. Time and time again, I find myself burning my hand by grabbing a pan fresh from the oven. I should be supervised more often.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Nothing. We had a very enjoyable evening of conversation that didn’t involve yelling at The Kid. Therefore, we savored. Plus, I don’t think she likes eggplant.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Maybe. It’s certainly quicker and less mess than the average eggplant parm.
By Jared Paventi
- One purple eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- One large beefsteak tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup pureed garlic scapes or basil pesto (optional)
- 2 cups good quality marinara sauce
- olive oil
- kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray (or use Reynolds non-stick foil as I did). Lay the eggplant slices flat on the baking sheet and brush each slice with olive oil. Salt each slice lightly, flip them, and apply another brushing of oil.
Roast eggplant slides for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, increase oven temperature to 450 degrees, and assemble your stacks. Place a tomato slice atop a slice of eggplant. Add a slice of cheese and top with marinara sauce. Spoon a small portion of pesto or pureed garlic scapes over the stack and add another eggplant slice. Top with another slice of mozzarella and a ladleful of marinara. Repeat until all of your eggplant has been used.
Return the stacks to the oven and cook for up to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove and serve hot.