Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Stacks

I've been wanting to try an eggplant stack recipe for a while now. I've been bookmarking various recipes, but it took until now for me to finally try one. I am a huge eggplant fan, so this dish was right u my alley. I made this recipe as a vegetaran friendly main course, each person having 2 stacks. The feedback was mostly great and really helpful.

The skin on globe eggplants tends to be tough, which I did not think about when making these the first time. Peeling the skin either before roasting or after roasting would remove this tougher texture from the eggplant stacks. You could also use skinny Japanese eggplants and smaller tomatoes and make mini stacks as a bite sized appetizer. Or you could layer the ingredients in a pyrex dish and make a casserole/gratin with the same delicious flavor.

The roasted tomatoes are delicious and tasted great even on their own. I roasted the end bits of the tomatoes so I could try them before making the stacks. Pure garlicky goodness. I had never roasted tomatoes before, but I am kind of hooked now.

Adapted from Michael Chiarello
Makes 8 servings

3 large globe eggplans (1 pound each), cut into 1/2" slices to yield 16 wide slices (pel if desired)
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
16 tomato sliced, 1/4" thick and sliced from a large tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4" slices
1/3 cup julienned basil

In a large bowl toss the eggplant slices with the 1/4 cup of salt. Make sure to distribute the salt as evenly as possible. Put the salted eggplant in a colander and place it in your sink or over a bowl (this process removes the juices from the eggplant, so it can get messy). Allow it to sit 1 or 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 450ºF/230ºC. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats, which I find is the best way to prevent the eggplant from sticking.

Rinse your eggplant with cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

On one baking sheet, arrange your eggplant slices in one layer. Brush one side of the eggplants with olive oil. Flip slices over and brush with the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with pepper.

On your other baking sheet, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lay out the tomatoes in one layer, making sure each one gets some oil under it. Season tomato slices with salt and pepper then sprinkle the minced garlic on top.

Roast the tomato slices until they are very soft and just turning brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not turn the tomatoes during roasting. Bake the eggplant slices until they are well browned and soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. You do not need to turn these either. Let the tomatoes and eggplant cool enough so you can handle them.

Start making the eggplant stacks on the eggplant baking sheet. Carefully lift all the eggplant slices off the baking sheet to make sure none of them stuck. On top of 8 of the eggplant slices, place one tomato slice, one mozzarella slice, then top with another eggplant slice. Warm these 8 eggplant stacks in the oven to the cheese just melts. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with basil. Serve immediately. Pin It Now!

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