Friday, October 10, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan

I first tried my hand at Eggplant Parmesan last year when I had received some in a SHARE foods unit. I had never had eggplant before or at least that I can remember. I looked on-line for some ideas about how to prepare eggplant.

The first thing I found was that before cooking eggplant, it needs to be cut. I slice mine since I make the parmesan with breaded eggplant slices. The next step is to sprinkle salt evenly over the cut eggplant. Let it set for about 30 minutes. This brings out the extra moisture in the eggplant. I cut and salted mine before picking up three children for orthodontist appointments. That way I could start cooking when I got home. It didn't work out that way, but that is a different story. Oh yeah, two medium-large eggplants is enough for my family.

Once the eggplant has set, I pat it dry. Then it is dipped in whisked egg mixture followed by bread crumbs. I then cook the breaded slices in hot olive oil (couple of minutes each side). It can be baked by spraying the breaded eggplant slices with cooking spray and then baked for 3-5 minutes each side. After frying I drain off the excess oil from the cooked eggplant slices.

Now comes getting it ready for baking. My hubby doesn't like meatless meals. He thinks I am depriving him if I try to pull one off. He said this meal is filling, and he would never have guessed there was not meat. That is like scoring an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale around here. Back to getting the dish oven-ready, in a lasanga dish or other deep dish place some spghetti sauce enough to coat the bottom. Then I placed the cooked eggplant on the sauce. The next layer is sliced tomatoes and mushrooms (both fresh). I follow that with a sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. I spread on some more sauce and repeat the layers. This last time I had some extra cooked eggplant so finished off by placing those on top of the last layer and more sauce & cheese. Gooey cheese is always the best.

I then bake the Eggplant Parmesan at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. I served it with salad, steamed veggie (i.e. green beans or broccoli) and some garlic bread. It is yummy, filling and healthy too. Eric wasn't allowed to have the breaded portion of the eggplant or cheese due to allergies. He did love the tomatoes from it, but threw the mushrooms. Eh, can't win them all.

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