Sometimes when I want Eggplant Parmesan, I go to my fave Italian restaurant, breathe in the garlic aroma, nibble on crusty bread dipped in wonderful olive oil and balsamic vinegar or some really tasty olive tapenade –do I hear mouths watering yet?
But sometimes, I decide to make it at home….because that way, I can make a little extra (remember, I cook just for myself….much of the time!) and this is one of those great things to make and then freeze in meal-sized portions for some time in the near future when the yearning calls and the wallet is thin!
So here’s a good one….one of several versions I make (depending on my mood and what’s on hand at the moment).
Rich Eggplant Parmesan
- Olive oil (or peanut oil) for frying (Don’t use extra virgin olive oil, it’s not worth the price)
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 32 oz plum tomatoes, pureed
- 1 tsp. fresh parsley leaves (removed from stems)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup flour
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 – 1 c parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional
Heat 1/4 c oil in non-stick frying pan. Add garlic and sauté until it just starts to brown at the edges. Add tomato puree, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
Place flour, and a pinch of both salt & pepper into a plastic bag. Add eggplant slices one at a time, and dredge. Shake off excess and set aside on a plate. Do not let slices touch each other. Continue until all slices are floured.
Beat eggs with the water in a flat plate or pie pan. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture. Heat 1 cup oil in skillet and heat until hot. (If you have a large non-stick skillet, so you don’t need oil and can just spray the skillet, that’s MUCH better.) Carefully add eggplant slices into skillet in small batches and fry until golden brown on each side. Eggplant quickly absorbs oil so use as little as possible. if you need to add more, wait until the slices have been browned and removed; then add more oil and let it get hot before adding more eggplant.
Remove eggplant from pan when brown and drain on paper towels.
Preheat oven to 350. Cover bottom of a 3 qt. (13″x 9″) casserole with 1/3 of the tomato sauce. Place a layer of fried eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slices a little; top with half the remaining sauce, sprinkle with 1/3 the mozzarella (OK to leave some of the edges of the eggplant uncovered if you want) and half the parmesan. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce and cheeses.
Bake 10 minutes; then cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes longer. (Be sure foil does not touch the sauce.) Garnish with torn basil leaves, if desired.