I have been making this eggplant stacks for many years now, and at each attempt it’s always a huge success. A simple recipe, quick to prepare and extremely tasty!
I really love eggplants and since it’s the season, I have no excuse to eat even more of them. They are so soft, tender, and they pair extraordinary well with cheese. Everything with cheese makes my heart melt (I’m French after all, that’s it!). Thinking about this, I think I could give up meat and fish if needed, but it would be torture stop eating cheese (even if I know that you can now make vegan cheese out of cashews – I’m intrigued I must say. Have you tried it yet?).
So yes, eggplant and cheese together are kind of a must to me, and actually one of the very first recipe on the blog was a Grilled Halloumi & Eggplant Stacks with Honey, a very small variant of the one you have in front of you today. I had very basic food photography skills back then and the pictures don’t give credit to the recipe as they should (I’m quite indulgent with my past ignorance anyway, because I believe we need to start somewhere). For this reason, I have been willing to renew my pictures of the recipe for quite a while now, so that you can be tempted to try this outstanding but still simple starter.
Actually it was the idea I had in mind when at the last minute I went for this recipe, in which I replaced the halloumi cheese with goat cheese, and added a pinch of chili. For the rest, the recipe is pretty much the same here. However, eggplant stacks are also very versatile and you can totally adapt the recipe as it pleases you, according to your tastes or depending on the ingredients you have on hands.
For instance, in one of my last attempts to the recipe, I used homemade red onion jam instead of honey (I had got a homemade jar through a food swap event – read more about food swaping in my article My new life as a foodie in Chicago) . The sweet and savory taste was still there then, for a quite awesome result I must say. My guest was blown away! But you can also imagine to add prosciutto, tomato sauce (homemade if possible), or parmesan cheese. Mentioning this makes me willing to try a new version for tonight already, maybe I should!
In spite of their extreme simplicity, the eggplant stacks make a quite fancy refined starter, the perfect way to amaze your guest taste buds (or yours!) without spending too much time cooking a starter, especially when you want to make a three-course dinner. You can also serve eggplant stacks as a main dish, served with a side of quinoa or rice. Give them a try, you will soon adopt them too!
- 1 large eggplant, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) thick rounds
- Salt & pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 7 oz (200g) goat cheese
- A handful of walnuts
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Herbs of your choice (Thyme or Herbes de Provence)
- Chili flakes
- Liquid honey, to drizzle
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Cut the eggplant into ½ inch (1 cm) thick rounds. Lightly season them with salt on both sides and let sit on a paper towel for 30 minutes to let water come out from the eggplant.
- Place the eggplant slices onto a prepared baking tray covered with parchment paper.
- Brush or drizzle some olive oil on top of each slice and grill them for about 5-7 minutes each side until cooked. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the goat cheese into ½ inch (1 cm) thick slices.
- To assemble: top every two eggplant slices with some goat cheese. Add walnuts, and sprinkle crushed garlic, herbs, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Drizzle some honey on top and cover with the remaining eggplant slice.
- Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes, until the cheese is soft and melted.