Eggplant Stacks

Eggplant Stacks

Makes 24

About 2 Japanese eggplant, 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter or so, cut into ½-inch crosswise slices (you’ll need 48 slices)

About 6 – 8 slices sandwich bread (white or whole wheat)

1 cup ricotta cheese

4 ounces fresh or smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into very small dice

3 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (use the ones packed in oil)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly-ground pepper

Basil (optional, for garnish)

Arrange 2 or 3 racks evenly spaced in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 24 circles from the bread slices.  Put them on a baking sheet and bake until they turn golden brown, about 10 minutes or so.  Set the rounds aside to cool.

Lightly brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the olive oil.  Arrange them on one or two baking sheets and sprinkle them lightly with salt.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning once to brown both sides of the slices.  Set the eggplant aside to cool slightly.

Mix the filling:  Gently stir the ricotta, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes with some salt and pepper (taste to see if it’s seasoned to your liking).

Assembly and baking:  Put the bread rounds on a baking sheet.  Top with a slice of browned eggplant, then a tablespoon of filling, then another slice of eggplant.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the filling is bubbly.  If you want to garnish them with basil, take a small handful of basil leaves and cut into thin ribbons.  Put a nice little mound of basil on each stack after baking.  Serve hot or warm.

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