the not quite chef

it's a messy kitchen

The best eggplant parm, ever. Really.

Um. Guys. If you haven’t noticed, it’s FALL.

I couldn’t be more excited. Which means my coworkers are probably feeling exactly the opposite, since I won’t shut up about how much I love fall, and pumpkin, and how much I can’t wait to bake (and eat) all things pumpkin, cinnamon, etc. I might be a tad obsessed.

In any case, the blissfully cool weather has me itching to make anything warm and cozy – basically, that feels like home. And when I was home last weekend (and stopped at the local farmer’s market) I picked up some eggplant. And then made the best eggplant parm I’ve ever had.

No, seriously.

It’s Mario Batali’s recipe, essentially. And yes, it might just be the best thing ever. The biggest reason? You bake the eggplant slices first, rather than breading and frying them in a skillet. Brilliant! I usually make a horrible mess when it comes to breading and frying anything, so this was way easier. Not to mention it really highlights the authentic flavor of the eggplant.

But I did not make my own tomato sauce. Obviously. I’m way too lazy for that. But Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic was perfectly delicious.

Nom nom nom. I froze some for leftovers. And the next time I work late, it’s going to be the best thing EVER.

(modified from Mario Batali to suit a smaller casserole dish/number of servings)

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant
Salt and pepper
1 jar of tomato sauce (or you can make your own)
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped (if you’re using)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted in a skillet

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Using some extra-virgin olive oil, oil a baking sheet, or spray with canola oil.

2. Slice eggplant into pieces about 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick. Lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. Bake the eggplant at 450 degrees F until the slices begin turning deep brown on top, about 12-15 minutes. You may have to turn the eggplant over once to make sure they’re browned on both sides. When finished, remove eggplant to a plate to let cool for a few minutes.

3. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In whatever casserole dish or brownie pan you have on hand, place the largest eggplant slices evenly spaced apart. Over each slice, spread a portion of the tomato sauce and top with some of the basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.

4. Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese is melts and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.


October 1, 2012 - Posted by | Dinner, Recipes, Veggie Friendly | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

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    Comment by Sue | May 16, 2013 | Reply

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