Happy Thursday everyone
Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is a character-building exercise. You need patience, to be able to multi-task, and resist temptation, as you drool over the aroma that enthrals every cell in your body as it leaves the oven and floats up your nostrils.
I simply wore a tea towel around my neck, so I wouldn’t create a drool puddle I might slip on. I suggest you do the same. It’s humiliating but like I said it’s character building… I mean I don’t want to be an over-achiever or anything, but if I can cook something delicious and conquer my ego at the same time, well, it’s simply more multitasking, right?
I literally made this dish up as I went along. I went to the shops and just bought some of my favourite goodies and put them together. The good news is, that one stack is enough to satisfy all of your senses, and then some, and what’s even better is that it’s still good after three days. There are no eggplant takers here in my home (or Land of the Fusspots as I call it) so I had to suffer these little flavourful, gems all by my lonesome. I did give a few away to friends for taste testing, and feedback, I am chuffed to say, was 10/10.
This eggplant stack is an eggplant lover’s dream, the preparation, the mess, will all dissipate when the symphony of flavours kisses your lips
2-3 large round potatoes. You should be able to get 8, 1cm thick slices
¾ teaspoon oregano
¾ teaspoon coriander
Salt to taste
3 Eggplants cut into circles 1½ -2cm thick. You should get 7-8 even pieces from the middle. (Don’t discard the end pieces. We’ll be using them.)
2 table spoons olive oil
2 ½ teaspoon zaatar
¼ - ¾ teaspoon salt
500g ‘round’ mozzarella (shaped like a pear)
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion it weighed 75 gr before peeling.
left over eggplant, cut into little baby squares
1½ teaspoons coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
1½ teaspoons oregano
½ a sleeve of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves crushed (I used 3)
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the
roasted cherry tomatoes.
250g Cherry tomatoes
2nd half of basil leaves roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic sliced or crushed
2 table olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese (optional but I highly recommend it)
Method for potatoes
Pre heat oven to 200C and line shallow baking trays with baking paper.
Arrange potatoes on prepared trays. Sprinkle with salt, oregano and coriander,
spray with oil and put in the oven.
Method for eggplants
Cut eggplant into circles 1½ -2 cm thick Only use the 7-8 circles from the middle of the eggplant. Set the leftover eggplant aside. We will use them for the topping
In a small bowl, mix zaatar and salt, in a separate bowl pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Using a basting brush, brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil.
Sprinkle the zaatar, and salt and pepper mixture evenly on each one, then spray the zaatar eggplant with oil.
Place prepared trays in the oven, roast potatoes and eggplant for 35-40 min or until golden and cooked through.
While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking in the oven, prepare the caramelised onions.
Cook the onions with 2 tablespoons of oil for a couple of minutes on high heat. Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally for about 15minutes, add garlic and give it a good stir, if you need more oil add a little more oil and stir until garlic is fragrant. Turn off the heat, mix in finely chopped basil.
Once the potatoes and eggplant are ready, take them out of the oven, set aside and prepare the eggplant topping.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the leftover eggplant into little baby-size squares. Place them in a bowl, coat with oil, coriander, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. Spread chopped eggplant on a prepared baking tray. Spray with oil and cook in the oven, tossing them a couple of times, roast until golden brown. It took 25 minutes in my oven. Remove from the oven and mix with the caramelised onion.
Toss cherry tomatoes into a baking dish with garlic, basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tomatoes are about to blister.
20 minutes max. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Cut mozzarella into nice thick circles. You should have enough cheese for all the eggplants.
On your serving platter, place the eggplant, then put the potato on top, then the mozzarella on top of the potato. Spoon the eggplant and caramelised onion on the mozzarella. On top of the whole shebang, sprinkle fetta, drizzle the vinegar and oil from the roasted cherry tomatoes, and top with one or two (if you can fit two) cherry tomatoes. Throw some pine nuts on for good measure.
Place platter or individual eggplant stacks in the microwave and take out when mozzarella has melted. Sit down take a deep breath and enjoy, it’s an experience!