This cheesy eggplant melt created by chef Marvin Woods for National Dairy Council has New Orleans flavor thanks to the bell peppers and onions. And, since cheese has minimal amounts of lactose, even those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy this dish in moderation.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Pounds eggplant
- 1/4 Cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 Teaspoon onion powder
- 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 Teaspoon celery seed
- 2 large tomatoes, cut half-inch thick
- 1 Pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1/2 Cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
- 1/4 Cup panko breadcrumbs, lightly toasted under the broiler
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil.
Slice each eggplant into 6 pieces, about 1 inch thick. Lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled baking sheet. Bake the eggplant until the slices turn deep brown on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Remove the slices from the baking sheet and place them on a plate to cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once the eggplant slices are cool to the touch, place them on a clean baking sheet. Top the slices with the dice peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Sprinkle the celery seeds over the eggplant. Then, place one slice of tomato and once slice of mozzarella over each piece of eggplant. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Top with breadcrubms.
Bake the eggplant, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediatley.