Baked Eggplant with Mozzarella

This is a dish that really puts the homemade tomato sauce in a previous post to perfect use.   This recipe was inspired by a dish I had a few weeks ago for lunch in Sorrento.  Like so many Italian dishes the ingredients are simple but combined with care and finesse.   Here you will see that I have used only one large eggplant which really makes more than enough for two people as a side dish. However you can easily alter the proportions to serve as many people as you need.  Just bare in mind that you will need enough cheese and tomato sauce for each layer of eggplant that you add to this recipe. If you have any leftovers it is wonderful at room temperature or warmed with a salad of Arugula.

IngredientsI
The Goods!

Baked Eggplant with Mozzarella Recipe

One Large Eggplant

2 Cups of Homemade Tomato Sauce

About 2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese

Vegetable Oil For Frying the Eggplant

Flour for Dusting the Eggplant Slices

Basil for Garnish

Instructions:


  1.  Slice eggplant into 1/4″ slices
slicedeggplant
Sliced Eggplant

2.  Line a colander or bowl with paper towels. Add layers of salted eggplant.  Leave the eggplant to rest for about 45 minutes.  This will help dehydrate the eggplant which I find with this dish is important since you will be adding some water with the addition of tomato sauce. The paper towels will collect the water given off by the slices of eggplant. You can use as many layers of paper towels as you need to depending on how many eggplants you use.

saltedeggplant
Salted Eggplant

 

Remove eggplant from the bowl and dry off each slice with paper towels making sure to remove any access salt.

3.  In a skillet heat preferred oil for frying the eggplant. I used a mixture of vegetable and olive oil. You will want to have about 3/8″ of oil in the skillet.

4.  As oil heats dredge slices of eggplant in flour. And, in batches, add slices to oil and fry turning as needed to brown each side. Remove first batch and place slices onto a plate with paper towels. Again you will want to create layers of paper towels and eggplant; this time absorbing oil as the slices are removed from the oil.  As you fry each batch you will want to check occasionally for salt which you can adjust accordingly.

friedeggplant
Fried Eggplant

Now we are ready to build the dish!

5.  In an oven proof dish ( I used a glass baking dish 9″ x 6″ oval) spoon in one layer of tomato sauce and then one layer of eggplant.  Top eggplant with sauce and Mozzarella and continue to layer until all slices have been used.

Eggplantsaucecheese
First Complete Layer

6.  With the final layer add cheese and sauce to adequately cover the dish and place in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until cheese and sauce are bubbling around the layers of eggplant.

intheoven
Ready for the Oven

Remove baked eggplant from the oven and garnish with a basil leaf.  Slice and serve as desired. Enjoy!

Note: This dish, like any layered dish, takes some time to prepare. However, it can be made in advance.  To rewarm just put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. If you find that it is darkening too much cover with aluminum foil.

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