What makes these eggplant and tomato napoleons special is the breadcrumb topping which adds a heady herbal crunch to the mix. I served this at a potluck gathering owing to the fact that most of the people in attendance were vegetarian, yet still welcomed cheese in their diets. So I made a stack for each person.
Alternate idea: For a cocktail party, try canapé portions of this recipe, by switching to baby eggplants and large cherry tomatoes for absolutely adorable results. Just make sure to slice the eggplant a little thicker so it does not fall apart when grilling. Spear the stacks with a toothpick to hold together and top with mint or basil leaf.
MAKES 6 STACKS (TO SERVE 6)
MAKE THE MARINADE
1 CUP extra-virgin olive oil
3 TB fresh basil
2 TB fresh oregano
2 TB fresh mint
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients.
GRILL THE EGGPLANT
1-2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4” rounds (18 slices total)
Generously brush marinade onto both sides of the eggplant. Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill eggplants until cooked through and nicely charred, about 3 min each side. You might have to do in stages. Place onto a paper towel to soak up excess oil and allow to get to room temp.
MAKE THE BREADCRUMB MEDLEY
2 TB EV olive oil
1/2 CUP panko breadcrumbs
1/8 CUP mixed herbs (basil, mint, oregano, lemon verbena), minced
zest of 1 lemon
In a small bowl toss everything together.
MAKE THE STACKS
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4” rounds (12 slices total)
EV olive oil
1-2 tomatoes, sliced into 1/4” rounds (12 slices total)
Garnish: ribbons of mint, parsley, or a basil leaf
Start with a slice of the eggplant, sprinkle a little breadcrumb medley, top with cheese, drizzle with olive oil, then add a slice of tomato. Repeat and add extra slice of eggplant on the top. Add some more of the breadcrumbs, and garnish with ribbons of mint, parsley, or basil leaf (optional).