This easy baked eggplant recipe goes together very quickly. It calls for layering sliced eggplant with tomatoes and topping with some tasty cheese.
It makes the perfect vegetable side dish to have with sausage or grilled chicken. It could also serve as a satisfying vegetarian main dish when served with rice.
Unlike ever-so-popular eggplant parmigiana, this baked eggplant recipe calls for no breading or frying, so it is much quicker to put together and probably healthier. The eggplant is pre-baked with just a little olive oil, so this dish is actually fairly low fat.
Oh yeah . . . if you don't count the cheese!
This baked eggplant recipe calls for salting the sliced eggplant before baking. This draws some of the water out of the eggplant and results in a casserole with a firmer texture.
Some people find that eggplant has a bitter flavor and salting helps to draw the bitterness out. Personally, I have no problem with bitterness and you might want to skip the salting step if you are in a hurry and are not too concerned with the final texture. The dish will still taste fine, as long as you are not one of those people that tastes bitterness in eggplant.
When selecting eggplants, it can be helpful to look for smaller vegetables. They tend to have less seeds and give a better tasting final result when cooked.
Preparation Time (not counting salting time for the eggplant: 20 minutes Baking Time: 35 minutes
Makes 6 servings
2 1/2 pounds eggplant
2 teaspoons rock salt
2 pounds tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
salt and pepper
2 ounces gruyère cheese (about 1 cup when shredded)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Peel and slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch rounds. In a large bowl toss them with the salt. Lay the rounds out on several layers of paper towel and leave like this for at least 30 minutes, turning once.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Pour one tablespoon of olive oil onto two 12x18 inch baking trays and use a pastry brush to coat the trays evenly with oil.
Thoroughly wipe the salt and moisture off of the eggplant slices with clean paper towel. Place the slices on the oiled trays and turn once, moving the slices about a bit to sop up all the oil. Place the trays in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.
Meanwhile wash and slice the tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices.
Coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with a little olive oil. Place half of the pre-baked eggplant slices in the dish, top with half of the tomato slices. Sprinkle the tomato slices with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tablespoon herbs de Provence, and a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. Repeat the eggplant and tomato layers one more time.
Finish by topping the casserole with the shredded cheese and finally the chopped parsley. Bake at 400°F (200°C) until golden brown - about 20 minutes.
You will find no end of recipes in France that call for finishing with a bit of cheese and baking in the oven for a few minutes. Cheese topped vegetables are usually winners with most of the family, so you might want to try one of these other au gratin dishes:
If you buy a pretty dish for your baked vegetable recipes, you can bring it to the table with pleasure. For some ideas, have a look at these pretty au gratin dishes.