I like to cook summer vegetables while they are in season. I was surprised and pleased to discover that eggplant grows in a Louisiana garden. The first year that I grew eggplant they flourished with very little attention. Plenty of eggplant to cook and that sent me scrambling for recipes. Here’s one of my favorites. It makes the best of eggplant and other summer vegetables: “Melt-In-Your-Mouth” Eggplant Stacks.
Eggplant is a vegetable that I really didn’t eat when I was young. It is rather bland and soft or mushy when cooked. The texture is a turn-off. I learned to like this vegetable while in my first institutional food service job.
We had a very creative chef, Greg, who moved to Louisiana from New York City to lead the upscale hospital food service. Greg wasn’t afraid to serve new foods and recipes and he introduced the cafeteria to eggplant. Eggplant Stacks is a recipe that I’ve saved from those files. It’s a delicious way to serve this vegetable and the recipe makes use of several summer vegetables.
Tomatoes, onions and bell peppers make the “stacks” on the eggplant along with a slice of cheese, bacon and another eggplant round. These vegetables seem to “pop” with flavor along with the melt-in-your mouth rounds of eggplant. When baked, the onion and bell pepper retain some of their raw, fresh flavor.
The 1″ thick rounds of eggplant are breaded in seasoned flour and lightly fried in oil. The key here is to brown the eggplant rounds gently and slowly on medium heat so that they don’t burn.
They are placed on in a baking pan or casserole dish with the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper layered on.
The stacks are topped with cheese and bacon, covered and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through. I used American cheese as this is what was in my refrigerator today. Provolone cheese is also tasty.
Here is a baked eggplant stack. This eggplant made 4 servings, with several small eggplant rounds left for anyone who wants a second helping.
The original recipe calls for a second breaded and fried eggplant slice to be placed on top. This makes a mighty tall eggplant stack. If you want to add a top eggplant slice, I would cut the eggplant slices thinner (about 3/4″), and fry them until completely cooked through. Then bake the stacks, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Either way, this is a delicious way to serve eggplant.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Eggplant Stacks
- 1 medium to large sized eggplant
- 6 slices bacon (or one for each eggplant stack)
- 1 -2 large tomatoes
- 1/2 white sweet onion (such as Vidalia onion)
- 1/3 bell pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (optional)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- vegetable oil
- 6 slices American cheese or Provolone cheese (or one for each eggplant stack)
Instructions and Steps:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.
- Slice the eggplant 1″ thick. Leave skin on. For a 2-layered stack, slice the eggplant 1-1/4″ thick, then slice each piece again to make 2 matching rounds. Set aside.
- Fry bacon (one piece for each stack), drain on paper towel. Set aside.
- Slice tomato in 1/4 to 3/8 ” slices and set aside. Make one slice per stack.
- Thinly slice the sweet onion (a mandoline slicer is handy), and chop the bell pepper. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, blend the milk and egg thoroughly using a wire whip. Place flour on plate, add salt, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (optional) and black pepper, stir to combine.
- In a heavy skillet, heat oil on medium heat. (Do not fry on high heat.) Dip eggplant in milk and egg mix, then roll in seasoned flour. Fry until browned on both sides, drain on paper towel. For 2-layered stack, the eggplant should be completely cooked through. Add additional oil as needed, continue until all the eggplant rounds are browned.
- To make stacks, place an eggplant round in casserole dish. Add a tomato slice, then onion and chopped bell pepper. Add enough onion and bell pepper to cover it.
- Then lay one slice of cheese on top of this. Place one piece of fried bacon, (cut into 2 pieces), onto cheese. If making a 2-layer stack, add matching round of eggplant on top.
- Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds and other ingredients.
- For single layer stack, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven until eggplant is cooked through. For 2-layer stacks, do not cover. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Enjoy summer vegetables!
Ooooh, I love eggplant, Maylee, and delightedly add this to my collection. Iâll buy some eggplant in the next day or two so I can try your recipe. If you wish, Iâll send you my recipe for Hunan eggplant. Delicious!
JEANNE F. SAMUELS
3403 Audley St.
Houston TX 77098