Here is another dish from several years ago, and one of the many eggplant dishes I will be posting over the next few days. The key to this is getting the eggplant really crispy so that it holds up against the tomato sauce. I thought about breading the eggplant first but the breading would soak up the liquid and make the eggplant mushy - Enjoy
5 to 6 medium-size eggplants, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
3 shallots, minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of chopped Fresh Basil
1 ½ cups of Manchego Cheese, grated
2 cups of homemade Tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
Red Pepper flakes to taste
Place a rack on a baking sheet, salt eggplant slices, both sides, place on the rack, and place another baking sheet on top. This will take a few sheets to salt all eggplant slices. After about 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant and pat dry well. The idea is to reduce the water in the eggplant.
Place a deep skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle with oil, once oil is simmering, working in batches, place a single layer of eggplant in the skillet, cover, and cook until golden on the one side, about 5 minutes, turn over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes, remove place on a cooling rack and repeat until all eggplant has been cooked. Note: you will need to add more oil as you go along.
In the same skillet, drizzle with a bit more oil and sauté the pepper and shallots until tender, next add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds and remove.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Time to assemble the dish, in a deep baking dish spoon about ½ cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom, next add a layer of eggplant, spoon some of the pepper mixtures on top, followed by some more sauce, cheese and basil, repeat layers until done. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before serving – Enjoy
Note: This can be assembled ahead, covered, and placed in the fridge, bring to room temp, uncovered before covering with foil to bake. This dish can be made as much as two days ahead.