I have always been a fan of eggplant. My great grandmother used to make it just dipped in egg and flour and fried crisp with that creamy eggplant center. I was only maybe 5 then and I still adore it.
This is so impressive looking, but oh so easy to make......my favorite kind of dish!
It's lovely as a first course, lunch or a side with a steak or any other protein.
I've made this for people that have sworn they don't like eggplant and yet they've cleaned their plates!
The crisp eggplant slices are sandwiched with a sun dried tomato ricotta spread and a basil ricotta spread. Top that with some fresh tomato and basil and its crisp, creamy bright yumminess.
I used a little balsamic syrup on the plate, it looks beautiful and tastes yummy!
Balsamic syrup can be purchased, sometimes called balsamic glaze. It's just balsamic reduced to a thick consistency so really it's easy to do at home.
Makes 6 stacks
1 large eggplant
1 1/2 Tb Italian seasoning (1/2 TB for egg dip and 1 TB for dry coating)
1 cup panko
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (I use the moist ready to eat in a bag, but you could use oil packed and drain them)
1/4 basil leaves + 2Tbl for tomato mixture
1 carton cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 olive oil
1 Tb balsamic vinegar
2tsp fresh garlic
Oil to fry eggplant
Slice eggplant into 12 slices and set aside.
Mix eggs, milk, 1/2 Tb seasoning and pinch of salt and pepper in a shallow dish. It will look like a lot of seasoning but its right.
In another shallow dish add Panko, parmesan, the remaining 1Tb seasoning and a little salt.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat until a little of the breading dropped in sizzles, about 3 minutes or so. Dredge each slice in the egg mixture and then the panko mixture and fry until golden brown and crisp. Be sure you remain on medium heat so you don't brown before the inside cooks. Should be about 3 minutes or so a side. Give them a sprinkle of salt when they come out of the oil, and place them and a wire rack while you finish cooking all the eggplant.
For the filling blend 1 1/4 cups ricotta in a blender or food processor with the sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 tsp garlic and blend until well mixed.
Mix the other half of the ricotta with the 1/4 cup basil leaves and another 1/2 tsp garlic and blend until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the tomato topping mix halved tomatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1Tb balsamic vinegar, 2Tb chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble lay one slice on a plate top with about 1 1/2 Tb of the tomato ricotta, add another eggplant slice, top with basil ricotta and a nice spoonful of the tomatoes.