Monday, September 21, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

In all my cooking with eggplant this summer, I've yet to make the classic eggplant dish. After getting an ample supply of eggplant this week, I decided I didn't want summer to pass me by without making this meal.

With the exception of M, this meal was hit. M is in a "I don't like anything with eggplant in it" phase right now, so that didn't surprise me. (It cracks me up though because her favorite snack is Baba Ganoush!). J ate two servings and Curtis and I both thought it was good---although Curtis did thing I could have fried the eggplant a little longer (he was right. For a change, I actually had my pan too hot instead of too cool, so they got dark on the outside before the inside turned into creamy goodness). This dish is basically just as good as the pasta sauce you use--I used my canned pizza sauce (I am a little nervous how fast I am going through the stuff. There is no way we'll make it to tomato season next summer!) I didn't have a full 2 lbs of eggplant so I just used what I had and adjusted the cheese and sauce as I went. We ate this with an arugula salad.

Eggplant Parmesan
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

2 medium to large eggplants, 2 - 3 pounds total, peeled and cut into 1/2" thick slices
olive oil
flour, for dredging eggplants
2 c tomato or pasta sauce (homemade is best...)
2 c mozzarella cheese, grated
1 c Parmesan cheese, grated
fresh basil leaves

Heat 3 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dredge the eggplant slices, one at a time, in the flour, until both sides are coated, shaking off the excess flour. Cook in hot olive oil for 3 - 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned and soft on the inside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as they cook, remove from pan, and drain on paper towels. Repeat process until all eggplant slices are cooked, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.

In a lightly oiled 9 x 9" inch pan (for 1 3/4 lbs of eggplant, if you use more eggplant, you'll either need a bigger pan or more layers) or casserole dish, spoon a little tomato sauce onto the bottom. Top with a layer of eggplant, followed by a thin layer of each of the cheeses and a few basil leaves. Repeat layers (sauce, eggplant, cheeses, basil) until all ingredients (except basil) are used up. End with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling. Mince a little bit of basil and sprinkle over top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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