I'm continuing my Italian kick with a dish that combines two of my favorite fruits, eggplants and tomatoes, with one of my favorite cheeses, mozzarella.
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Stacks
- 3 large globe eggplants, each about 1 pound, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 16 slices large tomato, each 1/4-inch thick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
In a large bowl, toss the eggplant slices with 1/4 cup kosher salt. Using your fingertips, evenly distribute the salt on both sides of each slice. Place the eggplant in a colander set over a large bowl or sheet pan to catch juices. Set aside for one to two hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two 18-by-13-inch baking sheets with heavy-duty foil.
Rinse the eggplant under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
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Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on one baking sheet. Brush olive oil on one side. Brush with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Drizzle the other pan with two tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the minced garlic.
Roast the tomato slices until they are very soft and just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes, without turning. Bake the eggplant slices until they are tender and well browned, 20 to 30 minutes, without turning. Let the tomato and eggplant slices cool until you can handle them with your fingers.
Make a short stack starting with eggplant on the bottom, one slice mozzarella, and then tomato. Top with another piece of eggplant. Warm the stacks in the oven until mozzarella lightly melts. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.