While making my fabulous Layered Eggplant Lasagna, I sliced and fried up two eggplants. The recipe only used the biggest eight slices, leaving one eggplant’s worth of slices unneeded. I don’t like to waste food, and I’m always looking for ways to optimize my time in the kitchen. I fried all the slices at that time, and stored the unused slices in an airtight container in the fridge for later. These tasty eggplant stacks are a perfect example of a quick and easy dish. If you take a little extra time on that first cook, your prep on this recipe is minimal. That lets you quickly cook up a fancy dish mid-week. Made even better if you have some leftover sauce from Trilo’s Monster Sauce recipe (but jar sauce works equally well).
Hopefully you’ve been cooking along with me, and also have some eggplant in your fridge. If not, no worries. If you are familiar with frying eggplant, you can prepare your slices by either slicing them lengthwise, the way I have mine sliced, or you can cut them crosswise. A lengthwise cut will give you fewer slices to bread and fry. It will also give you square stacks, which I think looks super impressive. You need to prepare eggplant properly in order to insure that it doesn’t turn out bitter or too oily. Follow the steps in this recipe to get the best tasty fried eggplant, then come back when your frying is done.
Because I am layering the fried slices with mozzarella cheese, and I want the eggplant edges to get crispy, I am going to layer them in a baking pan and cook them in the oven. By doing these in stacks set apart from each other in the baking tray, I am giving the eggplant as much surface area as possible. All those exposed corners will turn wonderfully brown and the cheese will ooze out with the sauce. Can you say “yum”? Well, lets get on with it!
- 1 Eggplant sliced lengthwise and fried in Italian bread crumbs
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 12 oz Tomato sauce tomato basil
- 1/4 cup Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese finely shredded
- 1/2 tsp Basil fresh or dried
- 9″ square baking pan
- Cutting board
- Cheese grater
- Microplane fine grater
- Serving spatula
- Gather your ingredients. Set your oven shelf at the middle-top position, and preheat your oven to 350º.
- You can use your fried eggplant slices cold from the fridge.Note: If you don’t have previously-prepared fried eggplant slices, follow the steps in my Layered Eggplant Lasagna recipe.
- Stack all the eggplant slices on your cutting board. It’s helpful to line them up by size. Cut them into sections that are roughly square. The wide end of the eggplant will be cut slightly larger than the small end. That will give us squares that can be stacked easily without fear of them toppling over.You can rearrange the slices at this point if you like, so you know how many stacks you are making. Depending on the size of your eggplant, you may have more or less slices than I do. Select the biggest squares for the base, and stack them in reducing size so they are slightly pyramid shaped. If you have a lot of slices, you can make 5 (or even 6?) stacks.
- Put a dollop of sauce in the bottom of the pan for each stack you will be making.
- Lay the biggest squares onto the sauce and press down. You want to have a wide, solid base. Then sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
- Continue layering with more mozzarella cheese, sauce, and eggplant. Keep using the largest of the slices that are left, in ever-decreasing sized layers.
- The top layer should end with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and then use your microplane and grate some hard Italian cheese on top. Sprinkle with some of the basil.
- Pop the baking pan, uncovered, in the preheated 350º oven for 25-30 minutes.
- The stacks should look slightly browned around the edges, and the cheese melted and bubbly. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for a few minutes.
- Using a spatula, remove one stack to a small plate to serve. Enjoy!