The last time I tried cooking an eggplant was 2 or 3 years ago. Back then, we were part of the share program Horse & Buggy and it would be a fun surprise to see which vegetables we would receive each week. I can’t even remember what I tried making with it but I know that I wasn’t very adventurous back then and I was probably scared to try most recipes I found. All this to say that my first experience with eggplant wasn’t a good one. My husband and I can’t remember what it was but we both remember not liking it. Last week at the market, I saw the fresh local eggplant and couldn’t help but give it another try. When I got back home, I did my usual web-browsing for dish inspiration but nothing really jumped at me like it usually does. So I decided to just follow my beginner’s instinct and hoped for the best. What was first inspired by eggplant Parmesan turned more into a broiled caprese sandwich. And the result was surprisingly good!
Caprese Eggplant (serves 2-4…depending on your appetite!)
- 1 Eggplant
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Fresh basil leaves (mine were big so I used 2/sandwich)
- Fresh oregano (optional -I had some so I used it but it would work without it as well)
- Mozzarella, shredded
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste (I forgot to put some but I would always recommend it)
- Preheat the oven on “broil”
- Slice the eggplant, about 0.5 inch thick, to make discs. Brush some olive oil on each disc.
- Cook the eggplant discs in a panini grill (or in a regular grilling pan), just enough to see the pretty grill marks.
- Assemble your “sandwich”. Start with one eggplant disc at the bottom, 1 slice of tomato, a few leaves of basil (to mostly cover the tomato), a little bit of oregano, and a small handful of mozzarella cheese. Put another disc on top of it all. I added some more mozzarella on top of it but you could also leave it as is. Repeat the process with all your discs and put them all on a baking sheet.
- Put it all in the oven and broil it just long enough to melt the cheese (if you put cheese on top, wait until it’s nice and golden).
This recipe is bursting with fresh flavors, even though it is baked in the oven. The fresh basil is key to the success of this recipe. I don’t know how necessary it it to grill the eggplant first but I was hoping it would help keeping the eggplant from being too mushy.