Sunday, April 1, 2018

Eggplant Parmesan- baked not fried- sooo good!

I love eggplant!  I really love eggplant parmesan... breaded eggplant slices, baked in the oven and cooked in a homemade marinara sauce, layered with assorted cheeses.  So good!

I make extra breaded slices of eggplant, freeze them, ready for a quick dinner.  Just add sauce and I am ready to go.

Eggplant parmesan, ready for the freezer, or ready for the oven .

This recipes serves 6-8.

2 1/2 lb          med. Italian eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
3 1/4 tsp        salt
5 lb                plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves         garlic, finely chopped
20                  fresh basil leaves, torn in half
3/4 tsp           black pepper
1/4 tsp           hot red pepper flakes
1 cup             all-purpose flour
5                   large eggs
3 1/2 cups     panko * (Japanese bread crumbs)
2/3 cup         finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb               mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated


Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

While eggplant drains, cut tomatoes into quarters and remove seeds.  *you could blanch and peel them before quartering, but I don't mind the skins in my sauce, especially since they will be put through the blender.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to baking sheets, ranging in a single layer.  Lightly spray with cooking oil or brush with olive oil.  Place in the oven until lightly browned and crispy on both sides.

Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

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