Eggplant-Mozzarella Melt With a Lemon-Ricotta Spread

9 05 2012

What an easy, delicious and satisfying vegetarian open-face sandwich this is! Serve with a salad, like my mama’s cucumber salad, and dinner is done!

Eggplant-Mozzarella Melt With a Lemon-Ricotta Spread

The following serves 2 with leftover eggplant, perfect in a salad for lunch the next day:

  • 2 large eggs
  • Course salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, or as much as it takes to bread all the eggplant
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for baking sheet
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Bread, something sturdy enough to stand up to the toppings and baking
  • 4 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • Zest of a fourth to a half a lemon
  • A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Oil a rimmed baking sheet.

In a shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Spread breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip eggplant rounds in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, turning to coat completely; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake (without turning) until golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Brush the halves of bread with garlic butter and brown slightly in the oven.

Mix ricotta cheese with a Tbsp of olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Remove bread from oven and spread with ricotta mixture. Next, add a layer of eggplant and top with mozzarella cheese. Pop back in the oven and bake until cheese is browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes.

Garnish with chopped basil and serve along with a salad, such as my mama’s cucumber salad as follows:

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Dried basil
  • Dried parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Don’t make this salad ahead of time, prepare it just as the sandwich is finishing up in the oven. Add sliced cucumbers, dried herbs, garlic powder salt and pepper to a large bowl. You want enough herbs to coat the cucumbers well. Next, add some red wine vinegar and olive oil and toss together. Taste and adjust oil / vinegar to your liking before dividing among bowls to serve. I’m known for having a heavy hand with the vinegar, so it’s hard for me to tell you how much to add 🙂

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