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Crispy fried eggplant rings layered with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, topped with basil pesto and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The perfect al fresco summer recipe.

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizers
Servings: 2
Author: the communal feast


  • 1 eggplant sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella sliced into rounds
  • 1 heirloom tomato sliced
  • 2 cups seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil for frying
  • Wet batter:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • Basil pesto:
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Garnish:
  • Fresh arugula
  • Balsamic reduction


1. Make the basil pesto: Add all ingredients to a food process except for olive oil. Pulse the ingredients and drizzle the olive into the food processor as your pulsing. Continue until your reach a smooth consistency. About 3 minutes.

    2. Heat frying oil in a shallow pan. Set up your dredging station by placing the panko in one container and mixing the wet batter ingredients into another container. Coat the eggplant rounds in the wet batter then into the panko making sure to press the panko into the eggplant so it sticks. Place onto a plate and repeat until all rounds are coated in panko. Once the oil is hot enough add a few rounds at a time to your pan working in batches and fry the eggplant. Fry on both sides for about 3 minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel.

      3. To assemble start by placing the heirloom tomato slice down first on your plate, next add a slice of mozzarella and then the fried eggplant round. Optional to build a second stack or just one. For double stack repeat layer.

        4. Optional to garnish plate with fresh arugula. Next add a generous dollop of basil pesto on top of the eggplant. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil overtop and finish the plate with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and a squeeze of lemon juice.