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February 9, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

I first had eggplant in college. Being a poor college student, when I went out with friends and they chose Olive Garden, I would often order the Eggplant Parmesan because at the time it was the cheapest main course on their menu. I wasn't sure what I thought about eggplant at first and I never actually bought one and tried other things with them until a few years ago. I didn't know what I was missing!

Eggplant is a really versatile little fruit, which most people call a vegetable, and is a very good source of fiber. You can use it in soups, in casseroles, in salads, pretty much any way you can think of. Eggplant Parmesan isn't exactly an every day food, but it's a really great treat from time to time!

Eggplant Parmesan does take a bit to put together, but it's worth it and it isn't difficult at all. You basically set up an assembly line and go! Plus it isn't an exact science. You can use as much of the things that are in the dish as you want. You can make a big dish, or a small dish. It all depends on how many you're feeding. Alexis loves helping with these sorts of things, so it's a good dish to get the kids in the kitchen too and that's always a good thing!

What You'll Need:
1-2 large eggplants, sliced
2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried basil
3 eggs, beaten
Extra virgin olive oil
Marinara sauce (Note: I like Organic Newman's Own Marinara sauce, but you could make your own if you wanted.)
Shredded mozzarella
Shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Slice the eggplant into rounds and set aside:

Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant

Next put the bread crumbs, salt, herbs and spices in a pie dish and stir to mix:

Eggplant Parmesan: Breading

Then add eggs to a separate pie dish and beat until mixed. Once the eggs are beaten set up your assemble line:

Eggplant Parmesan: Assembly Line Set Up and Ready to Go

Once the assembly line is set up you're ready to bread!

First place a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet and turn heat to medium. Let the oil heat up as you're breading your eggplant.

Next take a slice of eggplant and dip both sides in to your beaten eggs:

Eggplant Parmesan: Egging

Now it's time to dip the the egg covered eggplant into the breading mixture:

Eggplant Parmesan: Breading

Make sure both sides of the eggplant are covered with the breading mixture like this:

Eggplant Parmesan: Breaded and Ready to Fry

Now it's time to start frying!

Continue breading your eggplant slices as the other slices that are ready are fried and repeat the process of breading until you run out of eggplant.

Place the eggplant slices in the skillet:

Eggplant Parmesan: Frying

And then brown both sides:

Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant frying

Once browned on both sides remove from the skillet and drain on a few paper towels:

Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant Draining

Continue frying until all of the eggplant is browned.

Now you're ready to assemble the Eggplant Parmesan! I usually start doing this as the eggplants have drained, while I'm still frying the other pieces to speed the process along.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray or brush it with olive oil. Choose a baking dish based off of the amount of eggplant you've prepared. I used a medium sized dish for this batch.

Place a layer of eggplant on the bottom of the dish:

Eggplant Parmesan: First Layer

It's OK to cut the eggplant in half to fill the corners if you need to.

Next a a little marinara:

Eggplant Parmesan: Middle Layer

Again it doesn't have to be perfect. Just make sure most of the eggplant is covered.

Now you add a layer of Parmesan Cheese:

Eggplant Parmesan: First Layer

Continue this process until you get to the top of your dish:

Eggplant Parmesan: Last Layer

The top layer will be topped a bit differently. Add Parmesan AND mozzarella cheese:

Eggplant Parmesan: Ready to Bake

Place Eggplant Parmesan on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil for the last 20 minutes of baking.

Eggplant Parmesan: Baked

Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

This is just perfect with a side salad and a slice of garlic bread.

Notes: I have wanted to try this process with Portabella mushrooms, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Remember you can make this as big or as small as you like.

Posted by Dianne at February 9, 2011 1:03 PM

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Comments

I love this stuff!

Posted by: Darlene at February 10, 2011 10:11 AM

The next time I'm there or you're here I'll make it for you!

Posted by: Dianne at February 10, 2011 10:28 AM

I have this in the oven right now :) I hope it comes out as amazing as it looks :) I used the fine parmigiana instead of the grated parmigiana. Hopefully it still comes out great! It sure smells amazing!! I'll keep you posted on how it comes out. Thank you so very much for posting the beautiful step by step pictures & recipe :) HUGS XXX

Posted by: Katie at March 10, 2012 7:43 PM

It's one of my all time favorites. Hope you enjoy it!

Posted by: Dianne at March 10, 2012 7:46 PM

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