Melanzana Napoletano is a simple summer dish with fresh ingredients from our garden with support from the farmers market. It is satisfying enough as the main attraction or as a light side.
Preparation is simple too. Grilled eggplant slices layered with pesto, a slice of tomato, a slice of fresh mozzarella, a sprinkle of grated parmesan, and bake.
^ You'll find eggplant, heirloom tomato, and basil at the farmers market.
I am very happy to have a small garden in my back yard. The wife and I don’t get more complicated than tomatoes, basil, and other herbs. But while the garden is small it is satisfying and productive.
We specifically grow lots of basil to use in the pesto we make that we put up for the winter. This eggplant recipe is perfect this time of year when our tomatoes and basil are at peak and eggplant is still abundant at our farm markets, and we have a fresh batch of homemade pesto.
^ Grill the eggplant just enough to get grillmarks and a little caramelization. About 3 minutes a side.
I won’t be including a recipe for pesto here. Nor will I include a recipe for mozzarella. If you aren’t already making your own you are quite capable of going to store and getting these.
^ After the eggplant has had a chance to cool, layer on the ingredients. I am heavy on the pesto.
Also, the name Veramente Gustoso Melanzana Napoletano is totally made up. Sounds so much better than ‘baked eggplant stacker.’
^ Ready for a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Salt and pepper
Fresh basel leaves to garnish
Wash, skin and cut eggplant, approximately 1 inch think disks. Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated grill*. Turn after 3-4 minutes or when you get pronounced grill marks. Remove after another 3 minutes and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Wash and slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Rinse the fresh mozzarella and slice to match the tomato.
Spread a generous layer of pesto on each slice of grilled eggplant and arrange on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with parmesan. Add a slice of tomato and top each with a slice of mozzarella.
Finish with one last sprinkle of parmesan and place on a middle rack of your oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Let the eggplant rest a couple of minutes after baking, garnish with a fresh basil leaf and serve.
*If you don’t want to grill the eggplant you can always pan sear it on the stove after rubbing with oil and seasoning. You want to get some light browning and caramelising while getting a start on cooking the eggplant.