Friday, July 2, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I have always loved Chicken Parmesan, but it takes so long to ensure safety from raw chicken diseases! This is the same basic recipe only made with eggplant instead. I like this for several reasons --
1) It cooks fast
2) It is more inexpensive yet just as impressive
3) Eggplant can be delicious! It tastes like a Portabella mushroom:)
4) You are eating a vegetable as a main dish and yes, it is a great way to introduce someone to my new purple friend.
5) Eggplant does not have a funky texture! It does not need to be mush or chewy.

Eggplant Parmesan:

1 large eggplant, or 2 small ones

next three need separate plates (or bowl) for dipping
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten, plus 2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 -1 cup grated parmesan cheese (mix with bread crumbs)

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 16 oz (or approximately thereof) Spaghetti sauce
cheese to top**

Step 1: Slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch disks and lay flat on a cookie sheet. You should get between 10 and 12 rounds from a large eggplant. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and leave for 5 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and turn eggplant over. Repeat. (This ensures that the eggplant won't be rubbery and also helps maintain firmness throughout cooking process)

Step 2: Take your dry eggplant and press lightly into flour on both sides, shake to remove excess. Dip into egg wash on both sides. Transfer to the bread crumb and Parmesan mixture, try to have an even coating. (this is the messy part, but oh so worth it)

Step 3: In large skillet, heat oil and lightly toast each eggplant round on both sides (1-2 minutes per flip) and place onto cookie sheet for later baking. You want a golden brown crust, and make sure your oil is hot before cooking eggplant!

Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 5: When your eggplant is all crispy on the outside, line them up on the pan and spoon spaghetti sauce on top of each one. (about 1/4 cup of sauce)
Top with cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes.

I have used shredded mozzarella, sandwich slices of swiss, provolone or havarti and I have used slices of monterey jack cheese too. Basically, whatever white cheese you happen to have on hand will work! (I wouldn't use cheddar)

enjoy! I love this recipe and have found that one large eggplant will serve 4.

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