½ Cup Breadcrumbs
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Garlic
8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
I’m writing this recipe on a flight from Washington to Chicago, so I’m going off of the picture above and my memory. This will be a fun departure from my normal, “straight from the New York Times Food & Dining Section” accuracy.
Take your eggplant and slice it. Half an inch thickness is ideal. Too thin and the eggplant absorbs the oil and becomes an oily mess. Too thick and it won’t cook all the way through. Put your eggplant slices in a bowl and toss with salt. Leave them alone for 30 minutes. Come back and thoroughly dry each slice with a paper towel.
You next prep step is going to be to cut your pint of cherry tomatoes in half. As in, each of the tomatoes is cut in half. Finally, dice up your garlic.
You’re going to need to two skillets for this dish. Heat the first over medium-high heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Once the oil is hot, throw in your garlic for sixty seconds. After the garlic has been in there for a minute, add the tomatoes. This is going to sit for 30 minutes. As it cooks, you can smash the tomatoes with your spatula and make sure it doesn’t start to boil or burn. You’ll want to salt and pepper this to taste, as this will be the sauce for the dish.
In your other skillet, heat two or three tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Make sure it coats the pan evenly. You’re going to do the eggplant in batches. You may want to heat your oven to it’s lowest setting so you can keep the first batch warm while subsequent batches cook. Essentially, you’re browning the eggplants in the oil. Three or four minutes per side should be sufficient. Be sure to add more oil if the pan gets too dry and allow new oil to reach the appropriate temperature.
The browning of the eggplants should take 24-32 minutes. Once your tomatoes have simmered for 30 minutes, drop the heat to low and let them sit there. In the pan that you browned the eggplant in, add one more tablespoon of oil and let it get hot. You can scrape around any other delicious bits remaining in your eggplant skillet so that they are loose and can be incorporated into the breadcrumbs. Toss in the breadcrumbs and mix them in with the oil. You’re toasting the breadcrumbs in oil. You want to toast them until the breadcrumbs smell like toast. It’ll probably be about 4 minutes. Don’t burn them.
Now you’re reading to combine your dish. I’ll outline the method below and just repeat until all the eggplant slices have been topped.
Take an eggplant slice. Top it with a dollop of mascarpone cheese. Next, lay some sauce over the cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the sauce. Top it with a slice of the mozzarella.