2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick rounds (about 2 lbs)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
1 small chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped, optional
1 sprig fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup corn meal, a couple of handfuls
2 tsp fennel pollen or ground fennel seed, optional
Vegetable oil plus omega-3, for shallow frying
1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bundle fresh green or red chard, washed, stemmed and shredded
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Set aside or prepare the roasted tomatoes. Salt the eggplant and drain in colander, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a little extra virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, chili pepper, if using, marjoram, salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and sweat the onions 10 to 15 minutes, until very soft and sweet. Add the roasted tomatoes and stir, then let the sauce thicken 15 minutes, uncovered over medium heat. The mixture should be very thick.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the sauce cooks, make a breading station (3 sections) for the eggplant: flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs mixed with cheese, corn meal and fennel. Coat the eggplant slices in order and arrange on a plate. Heat a thin layer of frying oil in a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium to medium-high heat and cook the eggplant 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain the eggplant on a cooling rack, wipe out the skillet and repeat. Sprinkle the hot eggplant with a little salt. When all of the eggplant has been cooked, wipe the pan clean again and heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in the skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and stir 1 minute. Add the greens and wilt them, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn off the heat. Build stacks on cooling rack placed over baking sheet: eggplant, chard, tomato-onions, basil leaves, mozzarella and eggplant. Place in oven 5 minutes to melt the mozzarella. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray from Cooking Channel's Week in a Day.
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