Yes, I really do cook things besides bread and dessert. We do have to eat regular meals here, too. Last night I got ambitious and made eggplant parmigiana. Ok, not so ambitious. While it sounds fancy, it’s really a very simple dish and definitely one of our faves. It’s also the only thing I know how to make with eggplant. If you have any great eggplant recipes, send them my way. I’d love to find more ways to use this interesting veggie.
So, I don’t really have a recipe for this. A lot of what I cook is just flying by the seat of my pants, but I’ll try and make it an easily duplicated thing. My recipe is very basic. Eggplant parmigiana is one of those dishes that I will toss together on nights when I want easy Italian that doesn’t involve noodles.
So, first we slice up the eggplant into thin slices–1/4 to 3/8″. You can peel it or not. I don’t; call me lazy.
Next, you’ll need two bowls. In one, break two eggs, add a little milk and beat well. In the other, put about 1 1/2 cups or so of breadcrumbs. I use the Progresso Italian Style–they come in big cans at Costco. If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can use flour. Just add a little pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning to it to jazz it up a bit (I’ve done this many times).
You’re going to dip each slice into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat well.
Then, you’ll fry the eggplant in a pan over medium heat, that you’ve heated about 1/2″ of oil in. Some recipes call for you to use as much as two inches of oil, but I’m not big on deep frying, unless I’m making potato chips, and I’ve found that 1/2″ does the job just fine and makes for a much less greasy dish. Fry them until they’re nicely browned on both sides. After frying drain your eggplant slices. I put a cooling rack over paper toweling and dry them that way. Putting the eggplant right on the paper towels tends to make it a little soggy.
Next, you will need a jar of spaghetti sauce (any brand you like is good–personally, I prefer homemade but I don’t happen to have any right now), 8 ounces of shredded mozarella (yes, I know most recipes call for thin sliced, but I’m not good at thin slicing cheese and shredded tastes exactly the same) and about 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. The fresh stuff (can you call Parmesan fresh after it’s been aged two years?) is absolutely best, but in a pinch you can use the stuff in the can. At our house, we consider those to be two completely different types of cheese.
Take a casserole dish and lightly spray with cooking spray. Spread a layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom and then a layer of eggplant on top of that, cutting to fit if you need to. Top with half the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Repeat. If you’re using a larger casserole or doubling the recipe, you may need to do this in three layers. Because there are only four of us right now, we only need one eggplant. When everyone is home, we use two and double the recipe.
When you’re all done, it should look pretty much like this.
Now, all that is left is to pop it into a 400-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. While it’s baking, make a salad, maybe a little garlic bread and you are good to go!
Now doesn’t that look yummy?