Monday, August 9, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

we have two versions of this dish in my family

i am of italian decent
on both sides of my family
eggplant parmesan
is a family favorite
but the technique
is not the same

while both are quite good
i prefer the recipe from my maternal side
which is lighter on the sauce and cheese
giving the eggplant a real starring role

this is true comfort food for me
when i would return home from college
for holidays and summer break
this would be part of the meal 
greeting my arrival
paired with 
chicken cutlet and roasted asparagus
and a 
big glass of milk

its kinda like 
a  big tight hug
Eggplant Parmesan
(printable recipe)
2 large eggplant
5 or 6 eggs
about 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
about 1 1/2- 2  cups mozzarella (not the fresh kind floating in the water)--grated
about 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
salt and pepper
olive oil
cut the eggplant crosswise into about 1/4" slices.  lay slices in layers on paper towel.  let sit 6 hours or overnight at room temperature (i know, i know...but i have never gotten sick and i stand by this method.)  you can alternately salt the eggplant and let it sit in a colander to drain for an hour..but i am not a fan and i don't think it gives as good a result...just sayin'. the idea is to get the eggplant to dry out a bit.
whisk the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper...a pinch or so of each... in a shallow bowl.  dip the eggplant into the egg.
fry in batches in a bit of olive oil until each side is golden brown
at this point you can cool and then place in freezer bags for future use. i like to fry up a bunch of eggplant and have it at the ready.
take your standard casserole dish (8x13 or so) and put a bit of sauce on the botton. not so much that the eggplant will swim in it, but enough to keep the eggplant moist and keep everything from sticking.  place a layer of eggplant on top, slightly overlapping the pieces.  put a bit of sauce on top...a thin but complete layer.  sprinkle some parmesan cheese---not a heavy hand, but a nice even layer and then place a light handed layer of mozzarella randomly on top. if you love, love, love whatever you want at this step. repeat steps for at least 3 layers, but not more than 4 layers (of eggplant).  divide your ingredients you have the same amount of each ingredient in each layer.  top with a bit of sauce and  this is where you can get heavy with the just looks so good all melty and gooey.
place in a 350F oven for about 35 minutes or until it is bubbling with goodness and the cheese begins to brown a bit.  you can also wrap this up and pop in the freezer for another day.
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