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A plate of food with eggplants

Elegant Eggplant Napoleons

Elegant Eggplant Napoleons are one of the easiest appetizers to date that I have included on Not Entirely Average. In season now, the eggplant comes in a range of shapes and colors, globe eggplants being the largest and most common.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Assembly Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Middle Eastern
Keyword: appetizer, beginner, best way to cook eggplant, cherry tomato, dairy, Eggplant, eggplant Napoleon, eggplant Napoleon appetizer, eggplant Napoleon tower, eggplant parmesan, eggplant parmigiana, main dish, pan fried, ricotta cheese, stacked eggplant Napoleon recipe, summer, tomato and eggplant Napoleon, tomatoes, vegetables, Whipped Ricotta
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 228kcal
Cost: $0.96 per serving

Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.

Equipment

  • non-stick electric fry pan or large non-stick skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 large globe eggplants or 3 medium; peeled and sliced 1/2" thick on the bias or straight across if you prefer a round
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs Panko does not work well in this dish so I recommend avoiding
  • *1 tablespoon za'atar *optional
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese freshly grated
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups whipped ricotta see recipe here
  • fresh Thyme leaves and tender young stems
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper freshly cracked

Instructions

The Method

    note that this appetizer is served warm or at room temperature, but not necessarily hot

      for the roasted cherry tomatoes

      • Heat oven to 225ºF.
      • Line a heavy cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
      • Slice each tomato in half lengthwise and toss in a bowl with the brown sugar, olive oil, and a good amount of salt and pepper.
      • Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, along with juices and oil from the bowl, on the cookie sheet and place in the oven.
      • Roast for 45 minutes. Check tomatoes after 45 minutes, tossing a bit and placing back in the oven for another 45 minutes. Tomatoes should be slightly shriveled and juices from pan slightly sticky and viscous.

      for the eggplant

      • In a small bowl, mix the Italian breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese and the za'atar if using to combine. Set aside.
      • Once the eggplant is sliced, sprinkle both sides moderately with salt, and arrange the slices in flat layers on paper towels.
      • Allow about one half hour for the salt to draw the bitter liquid from the eggplant. Rinse the slices well and pat dry.
      • Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in an electric skillet to shimmering.
      • Dip each slice of eggplant first in the beaten egg, and next in the breadcrumb mixture. Fry the slices in the hot electric skillet, one to three minutes per side until golden brown. Remove eggplant from skillet when cooked and drain on paper towels.

      to assemble

      • Begin with a small amount of whipped ricotta as a base. The ricotta will act like a glue to prevent your Napoleons from sliding once plated.
      • Layer a slice of eggplant with a dollop or two of the room temperature whipped ricotta, followed by a teaspoon of the juice from the slow-roasted tomatoes. Top with another slice of the eggplant and a dollop more of the whipped ricotta. Repeat to create just three perfect layers.
      • Top with several to many of the slow-roasted tomatoes this time, allowing the juice from your spoon to drip down the sides of the Napoleon. Garnish with sprigs and leaves of fresh Thyme.

      Notes

      To Make Ahead: eggplant: fry the eggplant up to two days ahead. Store in an airtight container, separating the layers with paper toweling, until ready to use.
      To reheat: assemble the slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Place into a low 325 degree F oven for 10 minutes per side. 
      To Make Ahead: whipped ricotta: make up to a day in advance and keep refrigerated.
      Remove from the chiller 1 hour prior to assembling the Napoleons. 
      To Make Ahead: tomatoes: roast up to 2 hours ahead. Undercook the tomatoes by 15 minutes. Once roasted, allow to cool slightly before transferring to a container with a lid until ready to assemble the Napoleons. Do not refrigerate. 

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1serving | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 505mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 816IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 2mg

      Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.