Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ultra Easy Eggplant Pie

After a full day outside, this dish happened out of necessity rather than through careful planning, but was perfectly satisfying.  Inspired by a spread in this month's SAVEUR on a the Republic of Georgia's native cuisine, the eggplant I had rolling around in the fridge was yanked from its slumber and simply sliced and browned until tender in good olive oil. The slices were then casually layered in a pie dish, lightly doused with store bought marinara, sprinkled with panko and topped with soft cheese. A quick broil fused the ingredients together under a crunchy molten layer of bread crumbs and cheese. Though a rich walnut sauce and scattering of pomegranate seeds may have been a truer tribute to a Georgian's palate, this preparation adequately served its purpose, alongside sauteed greens and a glass of red.

Ultra Simple Eggplant Pie:
*1-2 large organic purple eggplant, sliced lengthwise
*olive oil
*1 jar quality marinara sauce
*1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (can be omitted for gluten-free version)
*1/2 cup soft cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to broil.
Place a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Coat liberally with olive oil. Brown eggplant slices, working in batches so not to over crowd the pan. Turn each slice once, adding more olive oil to in between. Do not be afraid to add plenty of oil, the eggplant soaks it up quickly and will need enough to brown properly. Brown until slices are tender but not mushy. About 3 minutes per side.
Spoon enough marinara into the bottom of a pie dish to coat. Begin adding browned eggplant slices to pie dish in layers, spooning more marinara between layers. Finish top layer by adding more marinara and sprinkling with bread crumbs followed by an even layer of cheese.
Broil until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.
Slice and serve hot.

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