June 07, 2006

Baked Eggplant Parmesan


Ingredients:

28 oz canned, crushed tomatoes
28 oz canned, whole tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small to medium eggplants*, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 eggs, beaten
1 large onion, chopped
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan PLUS more for sprinkling
1/4 cup dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil PLUS more for brushing
10 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. When heated, add onion, garlic and shallot, saute until softened and just beginning to brown, 5-10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and whole tomatoes, breaking the whole tomatoes up with the back of a spoon. Add oregano and cover. Simmer on low until warmed through and ready to use. Meanwhile, combine together oregano, Parmesan and bread crumbs. Brush 2 cookie sheets with olive oil. Set aside. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg, then dredge (both sides) in crumb mixture. Place on greased cookie sheet. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake about 15 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip then return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until the second side is golden. Then, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. While they are cooling, ladle about 1/2 of the sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange eggplant slices on top, slightly overlapping if need be. Ladle the remaining sauce over the eggplant. Top with Parmesan as desired and the mozzarella cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is slightly browned. Serve as is or with pasta.

*use regular eggplants (not Japanese) but chose ones that are on the small size, they are less bitter than the colossal ones you some times find at the grocery store.

My thoughts:
My husband is a big fan of eggplant Parmesan. I like it too, but have always found it to be rather labor intensive for what is basically a simple, homey dish. Until I came up with this recipe. Not only does the elimination of frying the eggplant cut down on the fat content, it also cuts down on the "hands on" time of the recipe. Once you get the sauce going, it can cook on low unmonitored until it is time to ladle over the eggplant and once the eggplant is in the oven and the timer set, there's not much to do there either. Not to mention there is no risk of splatter burns from cooking over hot oil. I served this with pasta on the side and honestly neither my husband or I could taste any difference between this and the fried versions we've had in the past. The leftovers were good on sandwiches or over fresh pasta.

2 comments:

  1. Ah, the ultimate comfort food. Looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a great way to streamline the cooking. You're very right about how labor intensive it is to make eggplant parmesan in the traditional way.

    ReplyDelete

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