About this time of year, many gardens are overflowing with produce. That isn’t a problem we figured we would have this year, as we planted a modest garden of some container plants and a small plot of pepper plants. However, a couple weeks ago our one patio eggplant ivory plant had about a dozen eggplants ready for picking.
With this much eggplant ready at one time, it became a question of how to serve these yummy vegetables. As eggplant isn’t a vegetable that our four kids are excited to eat and both my husband and I adore it, I decided to save most of them for Tapas Mondays. Now the question became, what sort of small dish or appetizer could I create with this fresh produce?
I have made many different appetizer dishes using eggplant, including Eggplant Rolls, Eggplant Salsa, and Eggplant Stacks. For my newest dish, I wanted something that was a combination of all three. It would have Italian seasonings, marinara, gooey cheese, and be served as a dip with some sort of bread or chips. The conclusion that I reached was to make a dip that tasted a little like eggplant parmesan. I took a few liberties, such a sautéeing the eggplant instead of breading and frying it and adding a layer of ricotta to the dish. The result was exactly what I had imagined: a hearty dip filled with great flavors and melted cheese.
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 small eggplants, cubed
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, parsley, and parmesan cheese.
- Mix well, and set aside. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add olive oil and eggplant, and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, and sauté for 2 additional minutes.
- Coat bottom of a small baking dish with marinara.
- Top with ricotta cheese mixture, then eggplant and garlic.
- Place mozzarella slices on top
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
- Serve with toasted pita chips or grilled baguette slices.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can replace with dried. Note 1 tablespoon fresh = 1 teaspoon dried