Weekday Vegetarian: Eggplant Parmesan
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I don't have quite the same glut of eggplant that I had last year which resulted in a wonderful caponata, but we did pretty well this year. However, I did have plenty of tomatoes, so I made some eggplant parmesan with fresh tomato sauce. This was a bit of an exercise to use what I had from the garden and the pantry, so I used ricotta which I had on hand, rather than heading to the store for mozzarella cheese.
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
This dish takes a bit of time because you pan fry the eggplant first, and then bake it together with the sauce, but it's worth it for a wonderfully satisfying autumn meal.
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggplant, sliced in rounds, about 1/4 inch thick
1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 tomatoes, (depending on size), peeled and roughly chopped, or 1 small can of tomatoes
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup fresh ricotta or grated mozzarella
Fresh basil, chopped
1. Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together on a plate. Dip the eggplant slices into the beaten egg, then coat with the bread and cheese mixture. Repeat until all of the slices are done. Add enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of a skillet and heat until the oil shimmers. Add eggplant slices and cook over medium-high heat until they are golden brown on both sides, about 8 -`10 minutes.
2. Remove eggplant from skillet and drain on paper towels. Set aside. In the same skillet, add more olive oil if necessary and heat until it shimmers. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes, if using, and cook for another 5 minutes or so. If the sauce is on the dry side, you can add a bit of water. Taste for salt and pepper.
3. In an oven proof pan spread a layer of tomato sauce, then cover with a layer of eggplant. Dot eggplant with ricotta cheese, then add another layer of sauce. Continue layering until all of the ingredients are used up. Sprinkle with chopped basil. Bake in a 350F oven, for about 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
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