Friday, March 30, 2012

Working with Eggplant

I have never cooked with eggplant before. Yesterday afternoon I got a crazy wild hair that I was going to make eggplant parmesan for dinner. I am not sure what possessed me to think this would be a quick dish to put together but once I started to put it together there was no turning back. I found the original recipe on I selected it because the instructions removed the frying of the eggplant slices and replaced it with baking after dipping the slices in egg and seasoned bread crumbs. The recipe was a huge hit with the family and we even had leftovers for lunches.

I did modify the recipe slightly by sweating the eggplant before dipping it in the egg and breadcrumbs. Once I sliced the eggplant I sprinkled the slices with sea salt and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Sweating the eggplant enhances the tenderness and flavor of the eggplant before cooking it. Once the sweating process was completed I rinsed and dried the eggplant slices with paper towels. I also used a little olive oil on the baking pans before placing the slices on them to bake in the oven.

Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
olive oil
sea salt

See eggplant "sweating" notes above. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Oil the baking sheet. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 6-7 minutes on each side.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.

Turn oven down to 350 and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

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