These are a fun and easy appetizer that would work great for a summer dinner party – or you could just have a few as a light and healthy main dish. I used two slices of eggplant, a slice of tomato, and a dollop of my bean dip per stack, but if you added another layer of tomato or maybe some grilled zucchini, that would really make these even more interesting. Get creative!
To prep your eggplants just slice them into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices (they will shrink a good bit when you grill them so cut them a bit thicker than you’d like them to end up) and sprinkle the slices liberally with salt on both sides. Let them sit for 30-60 minutes.
This step is called “sweating” the eggplants and it helps make them nice and soft and removes some of the bitterness of the eggplant. I highly recommend it for most eggplant dishes. You may also notice I peeled the eggplant with stripes – you could of course peel it entirely or leave the peel on, whichever seems more exciting to you.
While those are sitting and thinking about what they’ve done, you can blend up your bean mixture, which is a can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, some lemon juice, basil, garlic and olive oil – just combine it all in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Try to avoid eating it all with a spoon, this stuff is so tasty! It would make a great dip on it’s own, or a sandwich spread!
Once your eggplants are thoroughly sweated (you’ll see why it’s called that – they develop little beads of moisture all over) make sure you rinse the salt off – I have forgotten to do this in the past and unless you reaaaaaallly like salt, trust me, you’ll want to remember to rinse the salt off. Pop your eggplant slices on the grill or under the broiler for about 3 minutes per side, until they’re nice and soft (you may want to flip them with a spatula instead of tongs, they get soft enough that they could use the extra support.)
Then you just assemble your stacks! I did eggplant, tomato slice, eggplant, bean spread, sprig of basil – you can of course mix this up or add other vegetables, whatever looks prettiest on the plate.
Such a delicious summer treat!