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Caprese Eggplant Towers

Submitted by: | Source: Iannone Family Heirloom Recipe

Caprese Eggplant Towers

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2011-01-12 Other

My Italian Papa would make these Eggplant towers a ot in the summertime since our garden would always explode with eggplants. As kids we loved to build the towers with the eggplant and the cheeses. It was kind of like an art project to us. I love the look of an individual presentation. It keep things very neat, like a little prize package to be opened up by the guest. My family LOVES them, and I know your will, too!

  • Servings: 8 individual servings
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients:

4 Medium Sized Eggplants, sliced into ½" slices
3 Large Tomatoes, sliced into ⅛" slices
1 lb Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
8 slices Provolone Cheese
1 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
1
½ cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Plain Bread Crumbs
4 Large Eggs, beaten
2 3
Cups of Vegetable Oil, for frying ( adding as needed
1 tsp Sea Salt & 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Pepper
½ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
a Bunch of Fresh Basil Leaves ( 15, or so
to Garnish Tops of Towers)
Marinara Sauce
3 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
2
Tablespoons
Butter
28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
4 cloves Garlic, smashed, then minced
5 Hot Cherry Peppers, chopped (with seeds
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped

Directions:

Preparation of Marinara Sauce:

Add 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, chopped cherry peppers and garlic to a 3 quart sauté pan on medium-high heat. Heat for a couple of minutes, and stirring so the garlic doesn’t brown, but allowing the flavors to infuse the oil. Stir in the canned tomatoes and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the butter and simmer another 5 minutes. Stir in the basil last.

Preparation of Eggplant:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add ½ cup of the vegetable oil to a 12 inch skillet pan and heat to medium- high. You want the oil to be hot or the eggplant will soak up too much oil. Slice the eggplant into ½ inch slices, and set aside. Slice tomatoes into 1/8 inch slices, and set aside.

Set up breading station for the eggplant by placing the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs and combine. Begin breading eggplant by coating lightly in the flour first, then the egg mixture, then finally the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside on a large sheet pan to prepare for frying.

Once all the eggplant is breaded, fry until golden on both sides. Don’t worry about cooking all the way through, as the eggplant will continue to cook as it bakes.

Assemble Towers:

In a large, 13x9 baking dish, place a tablespoon of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan and place the largest fried eggplant slice over the sauce. Spread a tablespoon of sauce over the eggplant slice, then a slice of mozzarella and follow with a slice of tomato and a sprinkle of Romano Cheese. Proceed three more times with the same steps, and the eggplant slices gradually getting smaller as you build the towers. With four eggplants, you will be able to build eight towers. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The last 10 minutes, pull from the oven and place a slice of provolone over the top of each tower and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese cloaks the tower gets a beautiful golden brown! Remove from the oven to cool and garnish with a leaf or two of fresh basil. Save remaining marinara sauce for topping, if desired. These towers are an impressive presentation! Buon Appetito!