This contest recipe was written as a salad course, and used spaghetti squash as the base. Which makes sense, since spaghetti squash is sort of like spaghetti. But I didn't have any spaghetti squash on hand. I did, however, have some eggplant that needed to be used.
I used most of the same ingredients that were in the topping in the original recipe, but I didn't make the dressing that included ricotta cheese. Instead, I used just a bit of shredded parmesan cheese.
There's not a lot of work required to make these, and you could assemble them ahead and heat them up later, if that works better.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 2 1/3 ounce can Lindsay sliced black olives, drained
2 tablespoons capers
Seasonings (to taste): Salt, oregano, basil, fennel, red pepper flakes
Shredded parmesan cheese, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
Salt the eggplant and let it sit for 10 minutes or so, until it exudes moisture.
Squeeze the eggplant to release more liquid, and rinse briefly to wash off extra salt.
Pat eggplant dry.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the eggplant slices on both sides, then transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet or shallow casserole.
Top the eggplant with fork-fulls of tomatoes, leaving the liquid behind in the can. Top the tomatoes with the drained olives.
Add the capers and spices to the liquid left in the can, then spoon that liquid over the top of the olives.
Top with a bit of parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes to warm everything through and begin to melt the cheese.
Top with a little more cheese, if desired, before serving.