“Stairway to Heavenly” Eggplant!

eggplant parm 1

How can you tell I’m a fan of eggplant or Led Zepplin? I now made eggplant two days in row. It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode when Steinbrenner had an obsession for eggplant calzones! I didn’t make calzone’s but I made a delicious eggplant parmigiana with a red chili-roasted garlic-caper twist!
2 large Eggplant
1 fresh mozzarella, sliced (10-12 slices)
2 cups of tomotoe sauce or 16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
3 heads of garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoon pesto, optional
Preheat the oven at 350 F
Heat a grill pan or a grill to medium high. Meanwhile, cut the eggplant (leave skin and seeds) lengthwise (cut 1/4 inch thick). Each eggplant should yield approx. 6 slices. Salt and pepper (each side) immediately to avoid the sensitive fresh to turn brown.
Spray the grill with a vegetable spray or brush the grill with vegetable oil. Add the slices to the grill pan and turn each side after 5 minutes, total cooking 10 minutes.
Heat the tomatoe sauce in a small pot over low. Optional: add pesto. Tip: I keep a container in my freezer and will scoop 1-2 tsp. and add directly to the pot. I didn’t have fresh basil to add to the sauce and thought a little pesto would give it a touch!
Layer a 9-by-13 baking pan with 1/4 cup of tomatoe sauce. Add eggplant and top with mozzarella, capers, tomoatoe sauce, and parmigiano cheese. Repeat one more layer.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from over and let it set for 10 minutes. Top with the roasted garlic (don’t forget to drizzle the oils from the garlic) and ready to serve! The sweetness of the garlic plus the heat of chili and saltiness of the capers created the perfect ‘stairway to heaven’ly Eggplant!
Roasted Garlic:
Peal a few layers of the garlic bulb skin, making sure that the bulb is intact. With a knife, cut off 1/4 of the top of the clove, explosing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic heads in a double layer of foil wrap and create a little dish (no mess remember). Drizzle each garlic head with olive oil and season with a litle salt and red chili flakes. Bake for approx. 20 minutes (next to the parmigiano!) or until the garlic are softened and golden. Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes.

roasted garlic

Tip: I wrapped six individual pieces for freezing. It will be perfect when I get my Steinbrenner cravings!

ps – I had a piece for breakfast with a poached egg on top!
enjoy,
maria

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