Easy Eggplant Parmesan
(NO PHOTOS – Sorry! I am really starting to want to get the cooking show going. Hard to document when wanting to just cook.)
I made eggplant parm a few other times and only in the past year or so, if memory serves. Which, of course, it may not. But I do! ….. I think I had always come across fussy looking recipes for any kind of parmesan. Also, I was biased against frying because of added fat.
I have used a Rachel Ray recipe that calls for coating and then baking the eggplant rounds. It is tasty, but nothing to write home about. My theory? It just ain’t parmesan if you don’t fry whatever it is you are parming! I’ll add that I think there needs to be some kind coating on the eggplant before frying and my current preference is a dip in milk and then flour so the taste and texture of the eggplant does not get masked. But, I will try it with breadcrumbs sometime, too. Hard to not like anything with breadcrumbs.
ANYWAY – here is the recipe I started with, from Allrecipes.com:
- 1 eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 cups pasta sauce
- Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place slices in a colander, and place a dish underneath the colander to capture liquid that will sweat out of the eggplant. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix in egg and basil.
- Rinse the eggplant in cold water until all salt is removed. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Place one layer of eggplant in the pan, brown each side. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, using additional oil if necessary.
- In a 9×13 inch baking dish, evenly spread 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Top the eggplant with 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering process until all the eggplant and cheese mixture is used. Pour remaining sauce on top of layers, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Bake 30 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbly.
The only things I did differently was to slice the eggplant about 1/3 an inch thick and dip the slices in milk and then flour before frying. Oh, I tried the “salting and sweating” thing but no liquid came out. My eggplant came from Farmer Dave’s in Dracut (got it at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market) a week before I made the parm, so it was not “just picked.” I have read conflicting theories about sweating eggplant. I think I may not bother with it in the future.
OH – upon copying and pasting the above recipe into this post, I realized that I did not beat the egg before adding it to the cheese mix. Actually, I just threw everything in all together although it says to add the egg and basil after mixing the cheeses. It came out fine, though. I am thinking, however, that I will next time try an egg bath for the eggplant and beat the egg used for that. hmmm. I might want to just duplicate what I did here to make sure it is a winner. We will all have to wait and see what I actually decide to do next time. 🙂
The other variation is that I made my own pasta sauce, using a Cooks Illustrated recipe using canned crushed tomatoes and varying it by adding mushrooms and 4 fresh tomatoes from, in this case, the plants in our bedroom and dining area.
Yes, we still have homegrown tomatoes, as well as bell and chili peppers. And, my sage, rosemary, and thyme plants are happy, the two former ready to winter over in the bedroom for a second time. Now I need parsley to start that off. And basil for a second verse. 🙂 Steve and I are working on greenhouse action off the south side of the house to grow some “vitals” year round that need more room than a portable pot.
Bottom line on this recipe – super! I was pleased with the texture – thanks to the milk and flour coating. Thank you for that tip, Yvonne! Now, there is another great cook! Once I get my cooking show going, she’ll be a repeat guest, for sure.
Be sure to use a REALLY tasty pasta or marinara sauce. I’ll put my version of the quick homemade from canned tomatoes sauce in another post.
NOW I have to find time to post the stuffed eggplant, corned beef, and great way to do a whole chicken recipes that I have documented but have not yet been able to post. Always something cooking!