This is easy and delicious. It’s a great pairing with our Baked Greek Shrimp in Quick Tomato Sauce. Both can be done together in about an hour. The simple eggplant filling has the perfect complement of flavors for a Greek dish–ripe green olives, brined capers, and raw red onions. Similarly, the tomato sauce uses a threesome of canned, dried, and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Quick to do, and all the ingredients (except for the ¾ pound of wild shrimp) were purchased at Trader Joe’s, including the eggplant. If you add a basic arugula salad with lemon juice, olive oil, and a few reserved dried tomatoes, this can make a lovely company meal feeding four people for under $40.00, with leftovers for a lunch or two. No bread is necessary.
The Eggplant dish is vegetarian and can be served alone as an hors d’oeuvre or made up for to-go lunches. I may like it best with a few tablespoons of our quick tomato sauce between the layers of eggplant; other people like it without. If you are a fish eater and have it as a leftover, try putting two little anchovies or a sardine between the layers for extra protein.
A quick dry toast of my eggplants in skillets allows me to use thicker slices for more texture and it takes only 15 minutes. If you chose to do the tomato sauce, it can be done at the same time. Skip the toasting if you want a softer more melded eggplant dish by just slicing the eggplant thinner, and cooking for an extra 20 minutes. I definitely prefer the texture so am willing to do the toasting. It also adds a little more flavor to the eggplant.
I wish I could say I discovered the raw onion, green olive, and caper combo on some island off the Greece mainland, but the idea for our eggplant dish came from the Zinkus household that sits directly across the street from us here on Queen Anne. Thank you, Alfa, for saving me from despair after a disaster with frozen sea bass. Lesson learned: buy fresh fish, just use less of it to economize. You can supplement and get even better nutrition by also purchasing little cans of cold-water fish like anchovies and sardines.
Turn oven to 400 degrees. You will bake with rack in the middle of the oven.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Turn cast iron or non-stick skillets to medium heat.
Rinse and dry eggplants and slice into ½ inch rounds.
Set eggplant rounds in skillets and toast until brown on each side turning frequently. Thinly slice one red onion while you are browning the eggplant.
If you are making the quick tomato sauce, then you can start that now. Add all the ingredients into a large sauce pan and cook on medium for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove eggplants and let cool on a wire rack.
Open a can of ripe green olives and chop half of them then combine with ½ jar of capers and several T of caper juice. Or you can place olives and capers both in small Cuisinart and chop with on-off pulse method.
Remove lids from cheese containers and combine about ¾ of each container to form a mix of feta and goat cheese–you will have slightly more feta in your mix.
Brush your parchment paper with a bit of olive oil, and set your first layer of eggplant on top and give them a very light brush with olive oil, too.
Add ½ of the sliced onions.
Next add ½ of the olive and caper mixture and ½ of the cheese mix.
If you made the quick tomato sauce then add several tablespoons dispersed on top of the cheese.
Place your second layer of eggplant, and give it a very light brush with olive oil.
Continue by adding the onions and olive caper mix and top with cheese. Do not add any tomato sauce to top layer. Set the sheet pan in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the top starts to brown or you begin to smell the dish.
The finished eggplant dish can be transferred to a serving platter or cutting board by carefully sliding the parchment paper with the eggplant on it. **Do not try to remove the parchment paper.
Should you have leftovers they are easy to pack up and store.