Pesto Eggplant Bake

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recipe-thursday.jpgThis is a variation of a favorite recipe, Baked Eggplant Parm, that I blogged about in 2010. The original has been a staple of our dinners ever since but I think this variation is just as delicious. It came about while I was visiting Heather in Utsunomiya. Her garden harvest while I visited was a lot of eggplant and a pile of fresh tomatoes of all different varieties. She'd just made a huge pile of pesto from her basil. What would we do with it all? Obvious choice!

Pesto Eggplant Bake
serves 4

3/4 cup panko (bread crumbs)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil

6 Japanese eggplants (~6 cups), cut into cubes (if using US eggplants, peel them first)
2 cups vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup pesto
1 huge clove of garlic, thinly sliced

1 whole milk buffalo mozzarella, sliced into matchsticks
100 g feta cheese, crumbled

Combine the panko, parmesan, and oil until you have a nice, even crumb. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine everything else except the mozzarella, feta and crumbs. Toss well to coat, then stir in half the crumbs. 

Spread into a 9x13 baking dish or large nabe. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes. You may wish to cover the pan with foil or a lid to steam the eggplant if it is a little tough.

Sprinkle with feta and fresh mozzarella and bake until the cheese is toasted (10 -15 minutes). Let rest for ten minutes before serving. Is even better the second day.

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