Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

Smooth, silky, shiny, deep purple, superior taste, brain food.....words to describe one of my all time favorite foods: eggplant. I like it grilled, broiled, baked, fried or pureed. I like it prepared in any ethnic dish, whether it be italian, indian, greek or french. There are also many varieties of eggplant like, white, sicilian or Japanese. You name it, I like it. Dave on the other hand not so much. Every time I make eggplant, no matter how it's prepared, he'll eat a small portion and say it was just okay. I try my hardest to make him an eggplant lover like me but unfortunately I haven't been successful. Luckily Tyler and Zachary love eggplant. They like it so much they will order it when we are out to dinner at an Italian Restaurant. The last time we ate at Sinatra's Tyler ordered the eggplant and last time we went to Santiserio's Zachary ordered the eggplant. What kid orders eggplant instead of spaghetti and meatballs, right? So when they saw me assembling the Eggplant Parmesan Casserole I was making for dinner they could not wait to eat! Tonight Tyler and Zachary had their last basketball game of the season so their appetites were roaring. What's so great about this dish is that it can be assembled ahead and baked later. I prepared everything prior to their basketball game and when we got home I just popped it in the oven. It also tastes amazing the next day so I always make extra for leftovers. The best is when I put it in a crusty roll for Eggplant Parm Sandwiches! Yum, now I can't wait for tomorrow's dinner. I also made extra pasta on the side for my so-so eggplant eaters Dave and Nate. Hey, I guess the bright side is that it means more eggplant for me! Salute to eggplant any which way!
A delicious meatless meal
Assembling the Eggplant Parmesan Casserole is easy
Fresh out of the oven!
Pasta, the perfect side dish!
Eggplant Parmesan (Click to print)

Serves 8

Preparation and cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt n pepper
  • 2 large eggplants, peeled, sliced. (should be about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato marinara sauce
  •  4 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 tb fresh basil, shredded
* For better results, I recommend taking the extra time to remove moisture from the eggplants. Removing excess water allows for less olive oil to be used, will prevent sogginess, will take away bitterness, and allow for a crisper more flavorful taste. To do this place sliced eggplant on a cookie sheet with paper towels underneath. Sprinkle both side with salt and let site for at least 30 minutes. You'll see the moisture on the paper towel immediately while also seeing the eggplant "sweat." See picture below.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl whisk together eggs, set aside. Place breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and salt n pepper on a plate and mix together, set aside. In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Place breaded eggplants slices in saute pan and brown on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip over and brown other side for 3 minutes. Set browned eggplant slices on a cookie sheet. Using a 9 x 13 casserole dish, lightly coat the bottom with marinara sauce. Place half of the cooked breaded eggplant slices on bottom of casserole pan. On each slice place a teaspoon spread of ricotta cheese, then top with a thin slice of mozzarella cheese, then drizzle the marinara sauce over the cheese layer. Repeat with the remaining slices of cooked breaded eggplant. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Take out and add the remaining slices of mozzarella cheese to top. Bake in oven for an additional 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Top with shredded basil. Serve with a side of pasta.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "Great pasta mom!" (He wouldn't even try the eggplant...I won't give up)

Tyler: "This is so good. Your eggplant is way better than a restaurant."

Zachary: "Yummy eggplant."

Dave: "Not bad, this is actually pretty good." (Hey, I'll take that)

Andrea: I thought the eggplant turned out fantastic! I can't wait to have the leftovers tomorrow.
Eggplant, the silky, shiny, smooth, deep purple, spectacular taste, brain food.
Great basketball season Tyler and Zachary!
Great Basketball season Nate, with Dave as his coach! 

1 comment:

  1. I am going to make this one. I LOVE eggplant. No one else in my house likes it but I think just like you... more for me:)