Eggplant Napoleon with Pesto and Garlic is an irresistible appetizer or main dish, jam-packed with surprising and mouth-watering bits of flavor.
I have always been an eggplant lover. I am a meat eater, but I will always be down for a meatless meal if it includes eggplant. My fiance is a Caprese salad lover. He would eat it every single day if given the option, especially given the fact that we grow our own basil. So when I decided to create my own version of an Eggplant Napoleon, I knew we would both be satisfied.
Eggplant Napoleon can be as simple or as complicated as you'd like. I like to place this version somewhere in between, because while it may look rather simple, there are a lot of secret elements that make for a mouthwatering meal or appetizer. The crisp eggplant, the roasted garlic and tomato and the tangy, nutty pesto… mwuah! (*kisses finger tips in typical Italian chef fashion*)
When I went shopping for my ingredients, I was psyched to find that there was an abundance of local eggplants available. I love to buy local Caymanian fruits and veggies when they're in season… you know, support our farmers! They come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, and the variety makes them even prettier than typical grocery store eggplant.
I made this dish with the intent of it being an appetizer, but it could honestly be served as your main dish with some veggies or a piece of chicken on the side. It's light yet filling, and has so much flavor that you'll be questioning whether your stomach has room for another tower.
As everyone who cooks knows… it is so satisfying when the people you are cooking for are pleased with your meal! Seware was pretty impressed and had many “oohs” and “mmms” as he gobbled it up, which is always a small victory.
If you're looking for other appetizer ideas, try my Tomato Bruchetta with Garlic and Basil!
Eggplant Napoleon with Pesto and Garlic
3 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used BelGioioso)
3 large beefsteak (slicing) tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice your eggplant into 1/4-inch pieces and lay flat on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Pat the slices with a paper towel to dab off sweat.
- Mix the flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Crack the two eggs in a separate shallow bowl. Mix the panko crumbs and the Italian bread crumbs in a third bowl.
- Dip each slice of eggplant in egg (both sides), then the flour, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Pour 1-inch of vegetable oil in a saucepan and set to medium-high heat. Once heated, fry the eggplant in batches of 4 to 5 until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Place the eggplant on a plate covered with paper towels to drain excess oil, layering with additional towels as needed.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and lay flat on a baking sheet.
- Season tomatoes with oregano, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Top each piece with chopped garlic.
- Roast the tomatoes for about 18 minutes, or until the edges are slightly wrinkled. If necessary, reheat/crisp eggplant further in the oven for the final 8-10 minutes.
- On a plate, layer one fried eggplant, one roasted tomato, and one slice of mozzarella. Spread approximately 1/2-3/4 tablespoon of pesto on top of the mozzarella, and repeat once. The final layer should be a smaller piece of fried eggplant.