For an appetizer, I wanted to keep with the theme, so I choose an eggplant appetizer. I searched on allrecipes.com, found a highly rated recipe and then gussied it up a bit. They turned out great!
Thin slices of peeled eggplant are dipped in egg and then a parmesan, pecan breadcrumb mixture (good flavor and texture btw).
Then it's into the oven for some crisping...
And after they are golden, they get flipped over, topped with a tomato/artichoke mixture and some mozzarella cheese, then it's back into the oven to get bubbly and browned. Yum!
I let them sit for a minute and then transferred them to a serving platter and set them out. They were gone in ten minutes. That's the sign of a good appetizer and a recipe for the files.
Baked Eggplant Appetizers
1 Large eggplant
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup ground pecans (opt.)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tomato, chopped (or one small can petite tomatoes, drained well)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning blend
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Fresh mozzarella or grated for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Peel eggplant and cut into thin round slices, about 1/4 inch thick. In a small bowl, whip together egg, water, and a pinch of black pepper and garlic powder. Place the breadcrumbs, ground pecans and parmesan cheese in a separate shallow bowl, stir to combine.
In another both, mix drained tomatoes (or fresh) and artichoke hearts. Stir in 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning. Set aside.
Dip the eggplant slices one at a time into the egg and water mixture, then into the breadcrumbs. One by one, place the coated slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over and top with a layer of the tomato/artichoke mixture and a sprinkling of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake an additional 6-7 minutes until the cheese is melted. If needed, broil 2 to 3 minutes to get browned and bubbly.