Easy, tasty, filling, vegetarian. When Speedy went to the condo to bring supplies for the girls, I sent this grilled eggplant dish for Sam. There are two older versions of this recipe in the archive but this is so much better and so much faster to prepare.
Why better and faster? The first time I made this dish (with meat), I boiled the eggplants. The result was good but only because there was so much meat it was easy to forgive the sogginess of the eggplant.
The next time I did a similar dish (no meat), I fried the eggplants in olive oil. Better texture, better flavor but the eggplants soaked up too much oil.
This time, I tossed the sliced eggplants in olive oil then pan-grilled them. Less oil, less mess. And, instead of baking the dish, I broiled it. Broil meaning I used the top heat of the oven. Very high temperature but for a very short time — just long enough to lightly toast the cheese and heat everything through. That way, the eggplants did not continue to cook which could have made them soggy.
Pan-grilled eggplants with tomato sauce and cheese
- Cut the eggplants into slices about a quarter of an inch thick. The shape is really irrelevant; it’s the thickness that really matters. Place the eggplant slices in a bowl. Toss with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Heat a heavy skillet (I used a cast iron pan), brush the bottom with a little olive oil, and grill the eggplants until lightly charred and just done (see tips).
- Arrange the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on two heat-proof plates.
- Divide the tomato sauce into two portions and pour over the eggplants. Top with grated cheese.
- Broil at 475F, about six inches from the heat just until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Serve the eggplants hot accompanied by bread, rice or pasta.