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Leaning Tower of Eggplant

July 19, 2011

I’m a big fan of the caprese salad in every way it’s presented.  From uniform overlapping slices or stacked like an Italian flag, to a jumble of tiny mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes or roughly rustic chopped.  Summer is the perfectly ripe time for this salad and I could truly enjoy a simple caprese salad with a chunk of ciabatta bread for dinner any night!  But when I’m looking for a bit more; it’s this tower of crispy, melting, cheesy delight I go for!

Eggplants are always in my grocery basket.  Usually I have no specific plan for their use while also knowing they will find their way into something within the next few days!  Lately, I’ve been obsessed over making them into eggplant fries, which I now totally prefer over zucchini fries hands down!  Following the similar method of roasting the egg white/breaded eggplant slices instead of frying; the slices are then topped with a slice of tomato and mozzarella.  A drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar is drizzled over and served warm; totally a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of flavor!

Just recently Chicaandaluza posted her eggplant stack layered with marinara.  This too is a great idea; check it out also!

Roasted Eggplant Caprese Tower

1-2 eggplants (depending on amount to be served)

1 egg white (or 2 depending on amount of eggplant)

½ cup panko/bread crumbs (or more)

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon dried oregano or basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Olive oil for drizzling

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cut in ¼ inch slices

1-2 tomatoes (size to match the eggplant), cut in ¼ inch slices

Fresh basil leaves, enough for each slice

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar (see below to reduce to a glaze)

Slice eggplants about ½ in thick and layer with salt on a plate for 1 hour.  Drain well and press down to release any liquid.  Preheat oven to 420 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with a rack on top.  Spray the rack well with cooking spray.  Beat egg white well in one bowl, in another mix the bread crumbs, cheese, dried herbs, salt and pepper.  Dip eggplant slices in the egg white and then in bread crumb mix.  Place on prepared rack over the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Turn the eggplant, top with a slice of tomato, basil leaf and a slice of mozzarella.  Return to the oven and roast an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese has begun to slightly brown and soft.  Remove from oven and stack.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

Balsamic Glaze:  In a small saucepan, gently simmer the balsamic vinegar until reduced by 2/3.  Cool and set aside until needed.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2011 10:06 am

    You make everything look so tasty. I’m doing something similar tonight, but way simpler. Just grilling. Maybe I’ll get all crazy with the balsamic too!

  2. July 19, 2011 10:07 am

    These look delicious! And I agree with you about eggplant. I love ‘em and always welcome new ways to cook ‘em. Thanks for sharing.

  3. July 19, 2011 10:50 am

    Your picture is beautiful! (Plus, it sounds delicious!)

  4. July 19, 2011 11:48 am

    I’ve bought eggplant a few times and have never used them! Well, I did once, but that was an epic fail! Maybe it’s time to try again. Your recipe looks delicious.

  5. July 19, 2011 12:09 pm

    That looks tasty!!! Your posts always make me hungry! You have a very special way to make dishes look so delicious!! Brava Brava!!

  6. July 19, 2011 12:31 pm

    I love eggplant, and that looks like Italian love on a plate. Beautiful!

  7. July 19, 2011 12:38 pm

    What a great idea! This looks very tempting but i am really loving the idea of eggpalnt fries!

  8. July 19, 2011 1:02 pm

    Leaning tower of eggplant:) Thats the latest culinary innovation from Italy:)?

  9. July 19, 2011 1:57 pm

    I always do that ..I buy the eggplant without a specific plan and it finds its way into a wonderul recipe every time..
    now the next eggplants I buy will have a make your amazing leaning towers

  10. July 19, 2011 3:01 pm

    Mmmmmm…my mouth is watering!! I’ve made something very similar to this but I don’t think I used basil. I think fresh basil makes everything SO much better, so I’m glad to see how you made yours. I’ll definitely add fresh basil to mine next time! :)

    It’s a beautiful presentation, and a very healthy meal! Towers of fabulous flavor! :)

  11. July 19, 2011 3:07 pm

    Linda I love this dish…love eggplants,the fresh cheese, fresh basil and tomato…beautifully done. I think I would never get tired of eating this.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week :-)

  12. July 19, 2011 3:30 pm

    I love caprese salad in any form as well! This is a great twist! Can’t wait to try it.

  13. July 19, 2011 3:48 pm

    I could enjoy this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Great to have another way of serving eggplant. Beautifully photographed too.
    :-) Mandy

  14. July 19, 2011 4:47 pm

    I love these gorgeous eggplant caprese towers, a nice lighter version by baking the eggplant!

  15. July 19, 2011 6:12 pm

    Lovely – all the delicious melty cheese is making me hungry! Thanks so much for the lovely mention too…:)

  16. Lisa Jewelry permalink
    July 19, 2011 7:49 pm

    Very creative. I like how it’s a single serve leaning tower! lol You always come up with delicious healthy creative recipes! I can’t wait for my eggplants in my garden to grow, I want to make this recipe!

  17. July 19, 2011 7:51 pm

    Linda, this is so adorable! You are very creative with your recipes and I like that! It’s a nice light clean eating twist to a heavy dish!

  18. July 19, 2011 8:33 pm

    Looks great!

  19. July 20, 2011 12:30 am

    Fabulous! You can keep the eggplant recipes coming…I’ll be sure to make every one of them. :) Yum! This looks sooooo good! I love caprese salad and never thought of adding eggplant to the mix, but it totally makes sense.

  20. July 20, 2011 8:05 am

    I will take 4 please- yes I said 4. This pregnant woman is hungry after looking at those pictures! Amazing! What a fun and delicious dish

  21. July 20, 2011 11:07 am

    What a gorgeous dish! I canot get enough bufala mozzarella right now. I want to try those fries as well!

  22. July 20, 2011 12:26 pm

    This looks so great! Making me hungry! :)

  23. July 20, 2011 2:20 pm

    Wow, these are so inventive and beautiful! Love the twist on the traditional caprese salad and the ‘tower’ is so much fun! Your photos are gorgeous Linda.

  24. July 21, 2011 2:45 am

    Those look very tasty.

  25. July 21, 2011 9:14 am

    What a great idea and such a nice presentation. That will be on the menu the next time I’m having an Italian dinner party.

  26. July 21, 2011 9:51 pm

    Most people are not fans of eggplant but I absolutely love it and I love how you stacked them on top of each other. Very nice

  27. July 22, 2011 7:45 pm

    Beautiful! I love eggplant in all ways! My garden will be full of them very, very soon.

  28. July 26, 2011 4:09 pm

    These look awesome! What an awesome twist on caprese salad. I’ll have to try it this summer!

  29. August 10, 2011 3:27 pm

    Oh yes… I will be making this soon! I love everything ITALIAN! Thanks again for visiting my blog! Hope to see you again soon. :)

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