March 20, 2012

Baked Eggplant Goat Cheese Stacks with The Beekman Boys {Naptime Everyday}

Eggplant

What’s Going on Today: Returned from taping newest segment for Connecticut Style!

Naptime Goals: Bake eggplant with new Beekman Boys-technique.

Tonight’s Menu: Baked Eggplant Goat Cheese Stacks, Green Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette, Red Wine

As a native Cooperstonian I am a little embarrassed it took me this long to write about The Beekman Boys of Beekman 1802. I was born and raised two hills over from the Beekman Mansion. In fact, my parents once looked at it when it was for sale a long time ago. Needless to say they didn’t buy it, my Dad had no interest in renovating a farm and especially didn’t like the fact that a seasonal stream ran through the basement. I keep meaning to jaunt over when I am there in the summer but for some reason I always get distracted at The Black Cat and The American Hotel and never seem to make it. This summer I will! I swear! (It make a great travel episode for The Naptime Chef Cooking Show don’t you think?!)

Luckily my parents are excellent ambassadors and bought me a signed The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook at their Cooperstown signing last December. Then, in true Cooperstown fashion, during the reception all the signed books were plunked down on a table, everyone picked up the wrong book when they left, and the book I unwrapped at Christmas was signed “For Carla, Pass the Memories! Brent & Josh.” Carla is my mother. My mother unwrapped a book that was signed for their neighbor, Bunny, and Bunny, down in Florida, unwrapped a book that was signed to me. Exchanges took place in the new year. (Thankfully nobody took away my Polkaspot portrait Christmas ornament or my coveted bar of goat milk soap!)

When I did, in fact, finally get the book that was signed for me I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read it twice and tabbed at least half the recipes for future naptime cooking projects. Though this book was clearly not written for the mom crowd, many of the recipes are perfect for foodie parents. The seasonally based dishes are not complicated and many of them make ideal simple family meals. Since it is still only moderately warm here I decided to start with the Baked Eggplant Parmesan, something I tend to shy away from making once the weather gets too hot. I was intrigued by their technique of baking the eggplant until crispy, since, as you all know, oven frying is one of my favorite cooking techniques.

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook

During naptime I baked the eggplant in a Parmesan and panko coating until light brown and crispy. I happily learned that once it cooled to room temperature it could easily be kept in the fridge until dinner time. Instead of making a huge cheesy casserole for dinner, I stacked the eggplant slices with layers of goat cheese and freshly torn basil. I filled a shallow baking dish with a thin layer of homemade marinara sauce and baked everything until the cheese was slightly melted and the eggplant warmed through. As we dove into our dinner we were thrilled to discover the meaty eggplant in its crispy shell hadn’t absorbed ridiculous amounts of oil. Instead, the eggplant and goat cheese proved the perfect pair and we were instantly liberated from the heavy cheesy eggplant casseroles of our past. I can imagine this new baked crispy eggplant technique will become a regular rotation in my repertoire. I can already envision stacking it with fresh tomatoes from our plants in the summer and topping it with crispy polenta croutons. I might even go really wild and bake up some crispy green tomatoes. The possibilities are endless!

If you haven’t already procured your own copy of this cookbook I highly recommend doing so. Better yet, come to Cooperstown for a visit this summer!

Recipe

Baked Eggplant Goat Cheese Stacks

adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook

Ingredients

1 eggplant, about 1 pound, peeled
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small log goat cheese, sliced
10 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 cup homemade marinara sauce

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Slice the eggplant into pieces ½-inch thick. About 14 – 16 slices. Sprinkle the slices with kosher salt, place them in a colander and let them drain onto a plate for bowl for about 30 minutes. Then rinse off the salt and pat the slices dry.

3. In a shallow plate combine the panko, Parmesan, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water. Then, place the flour in a shallow plate. Dredge the eggplant in the flour, followed by the whisked eggs, then pat it into the panko mixture until it is well coated. Place the eggplant on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining slices.

4. Drizzle the eggplant slices with the oil and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn over the eggplant and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until golden and crisp.* Remove from the oven the divide the goat cheese and chopped basil amongst half of the slices. Use the other slices to make a sandwich.

5. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of an oven proof baking dish. Transfer the eggplant sandwiches into it and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

*If making the eggplant in advance, allow it to cool completely before covered loosely with plastic wrap and storing in the fridge until dinner. Then proceed with Step 5 and bake for 15 minutes at 400F to rewarm.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

The possibilities for serving this eggplant are endless. Shower it with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and summer vegetables. For some carbs you could serve it on a bed of polenta or orzo.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cook time

Naptime Reviews

This new oven-frying technique was a huge hit with everyone. Goodbye soggy eggplant!

More Naptime Recipes

  • http://www.englandfurniturefactorytour.com/ England Furniture Company

    These baked eggplant goat cheese stacks sound wonderful. Thanks for the post.

  • Sisstarr

    I am an eggplantaholic.  Can’t wit to try this.  Yummo!

  • Pingback: baked eggplant goat cheese stacks – townie « Town Mouse and Country Mouse()

  • 4 Boyz Mom

    I made these for a luncheon I was having with some girlfriends. They are amazing! They were so impressed and they were so simple! Thanks for making me shine!!!

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef

      Cool! I am SO glad you liked it!!