Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiana

Don't let the title scare you away!!  I used to think I hated eggplant...and I think I still do.  But, when you hide it in this parmigiana recipe, it is absolutely delicious.  I say "hide" because after frying in oil, adding a ton of sauce and a full 16 oz bag of cheese, it's hard to believe anything healthy is actually in there!

Some of you may not even know what an eggplant looks like.  I'm pretty sure I was married before I knew what it was.  It wasn't until the last week that I knew it came in white.  Color selections!

First, you need to peel 2 or 3 of these - the best way is just cut off the ends and run a knife down the sides.  Cut up into thin slices.

Next, put a tablespoon of oil in a pot & sauté some chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic.  Add 3 cans of diced tomatoes (or cut up some garden fresh ones, like I did) and add them to the pot along with some sugar, oregano, basil, and salt.  Simmer for half and hour.  Don't worry, you'll be keeping busy during that time.

While the sauce is cooking, you'll be frying...the eggplant.  Beat 2 eggs with 2 Tbsp of water.  On a dinner plate, dump a bunch of breadcrumbs - seasoned or unseasoned, it doesn't matter.

Dip your eggplant slices into the egg & let excess drip off.  Put into breadcrumbs to coat one side, then turn over and coat the other.  While you're doing this, you should be heating some oil in a large skillet.  Add the slices to the hot oil, let sizzle for a minute or two (I always keep it on high to cut down on time), then turn and fry the other side.  I add oil, as needed, to keep things nice and brown.

Place fried slices on bottom of a greased 13x9 pan.  Top with half the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.

I won't lie, the frying process takes some time.  Your sauce will be ready when you need to pour it...don't worry if it hasn't been 30 min., as long as it's hot.

You could use canned spaghetti sauce, but I really don't think it would be near as good.  Plus, aren't chunks of tomato much prettier?  I will admit, because of our large family, I do 3 layers of eggplant and I only make enough sauce for two.  Therefore, I top the final layer with half a jar of sauce.  It really is quite good that way.

Top the whole thing with cheese.  If you haven't added a whole 16 oz bag of it, you haven't put on enough.  Put in the oven at 350-degrees and wait about 25 min.  Just thinking about eating it makes me smile!

Take it out, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then slice into squares.  My family of 9 goes through the whole pan in one sitting, so I'd say it serves about 10-12 people.  Not necessarily pretty, but pretty delicious!

In Summary:
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
3 16-oz cans tomatoes
3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 tsp basil leaves
1 tsp salt
1 Cup dried bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 Tbsp water
2 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

In skillet or pot, in 2 Tbsp hot oil, cook garlic and onion until tender, then add next 5 inggredients.  Reduce heat & cook for 30 min.  
Place bread crumbs on dish or waxed paper.  In small bowl, beat eggs and water.  Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in breadcrumbs.
Grease 13x9 baking dish.  In large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp (or so) of oil.  Cook a few eggplant slices at a time until golden brown.  Add more oil as needed.
Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange half the eggplant slices in baking dish.  Cover with 1/2 the tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella.  Repeat layers two more times, only top with half a jar of sauce the final time (if you run out of tomato mixture).  Finish w/ Parm cheese and the rest of the mozzarella.  
Place in oven (uncovered) and bake for 25 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes, cut, and enjoy!

You may find a printable version of this recipe here.

Now, go!  Enjoy some eggplant!

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