Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This eggplant parmesan is pretty darn amazing. I combined SimplyRecipes' Eggplant Parmesan with another random recipe by Juan-Carlos Cruz, and here we are: a slightly healthier, deliciously layered eggplant parmesan. There's some wonky techniques in here (like draining the eggplant, and baking the breaded eggplant instead of frying) that all work towards preventing the aubergines from getting soggy. I've seen comments around the web that suggested using thinly sliced zucchini in place of the eggplants. Versatility!
I've slightly reduced the cheese from the previous recipes, as a pound of mozzarella should be more than enough. If you want better cheese-coverage, slice it thinner. However, the 1/4" rounds that the recipe calls for does a decent job of cheese spreading, in all those layers of perfectly, lightly breaded eggplant.
Immediately after my first helping, I wished I'd made more.
Eggplant ParmesanServes ~8 (and makes amaaaaazing leftovers)
2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
Kosher salt (I used herb-infused sea salt)
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (alternatively, use 2.5-3 cups store-bought tomato sauce)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
1 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (or thinner)
3/4 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
~2 Tbsp dried basil
- Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a colander and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a few plates and let drain for 1.5-2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.
- While the eggplant is draining, prepare the tomato sauce: combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Alternatively, just use 2.5-3 cups of store bought tomato sauce, no olive oil necessary.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease ~3 cookie sheets with some olive oil.
- When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture.
- In a deep plate, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another deep plate. Dredge the eggplant slices first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs and place on prepared cookie sheets. Make sure eggplant is fully coated.
- Bake breaded eggplant slices in the oven for 15 minutes (I like to flip them halfway through).
- In the bottom of a 10x15 inch baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil.
- Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining dried basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.
- Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30-45 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.