Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Easy Eggplant Parmesan
My partner's mother lives on Long Island. In her town, there is a small family-owned Italian restaurant that serves up amazing eggplant parmesan, with a generous heaping of spaghetti on the side. Not exactly healthy fare, but it is so good! Below is my favorite way of making this dish.
Approximately 4 servings
4 cups (approximately) of your favorite tomato/spaghetti sauce. (I use Mario Batali's basic tomato sauce, the recipe for which was posted on 2/22/09. You may also use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce.)
2 medium eggplants cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I use low or reduced fat)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or add dried Italian seasoning to plain bread crumbs)
Salt (preferably Kosher)
Flat leaf Italian parsley for garnishing
Generously salt the eggplant slices and place them in a colander in the sink or over a plate for about 30 minutes. This will cause the eggplant to release some of its bitter juices. After 30 minutes has elapsed, rinse off any residual salt on the eggplant slices under cold tap water and thoroughly blot dry with a paper towel or a cloth dish towel. (Rinsing the eggplant slices is important. Do not forget this step.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat approximately 1/8 - 1/4 inch of canola oil in a pan. Combine the flour and breadcrumbs in one bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl. Next, coat each eggplant slice with the beaten eggs and dredge in the flour/bread crumb mixture. Place each slice carefully into the oil and fry until lightly browned, about 10 seconds on each side. Remove using tongs and drain on paper towels.
In an oven safe baking dish, lay down 4 large eggplant slices. Add 1/4 cup of tomato/spaghetti sauce on top of each slice. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese on top of each slice and top with another eggplant slice. Repeat these steps until you have 4 individual stacks of eggplant, with each stack containing 4 eggplant slices. Each stack should be topped with the remaining tomato/spaghetti sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Bake in the oven until the mozzarella cheese has melted, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. (I like to serve the eggplant parmesan alongside a heaping of spaghetti tossed in the same tomato/spaghetti sauce used earlier.)
Finally, go to gym the next day and work off calories you consumed the night before!