Monday, May 22, 2006

Eggplant Stacks

I came up with these stacks many years ago when I was on a low carb diet. I remember that I wanted to make eggplant parmigiana but I couldn't use bread crumbs or eggs. So, my eggplant stacks were born. These stacks are much simpler to make and are a good vegetarian alternative, too...and they're low in carbs!

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 or 5 stacks)

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2" thick slices (8 or 10 slices)
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or basil or parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A few good grinds of fresh, ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup marinara sauce (I used Barilla's Traditional Marinara)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the eggplant into 8 or 10 - 1/2" slices. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle each one with a pinch of kosher salt. Let them sit in the sink for a half hour to drain.

After 30 minutes, pat dry each slice--do not rinse them with water.

Set a griddle pan or a large frying pan over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil and lower heat to medium-high. Place the eggplant slices on the griddle or skillet (cook them in batches if your pan doesn't fit all of them) and fry for about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Set aside and let cool slightly. You may need to add more vegetable oil as eggplants tend to soak it up.

In a small bowl combine the 3/4 cup ricotta, 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of ground, black pepper.

In a 9"x13" baking dish add 2 heaping tablespoon of marinara sauce and spread. Place half of the slices on the dish. Top each slice with 1 or 2 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Then spoon 1 teaspoon of marinara over the ricotta. Top each slice with another eggplant slice.

Spoon 1 tablespoon or more of marinara over each stack, and then spread the mozzarella cheese over all the stacks.

Cook in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggplant is heated through.

Serve immediately with a nice, crisp salad.

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