Palate Pleasers

Eggplant Parmesan

Posted on: June 21, 2011

Hello All, It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and I have so many great recipes to share with you, so make sure to keep checking back to see the 2 or 3 that I’ll be posting tonight.  It seems that I haven’t had too much time to write and share with you my favorite foods this past season, but that’s all about to change now…

I had never really been one to buy Eggplant, let alone cook with it but when I started dating Mike, I found out that was one vegetable that he liked so trying to prove to him that I was a good cook, i found one recipe that included Eggplant  and learned to cook with it.  That recipe was Mousakka and it’s still one of his favorite dishes today.  My thought  has always been, “Why order Eggplant Parmesan in an Italian restaurant when you can have meat and Pasta? ” Why even make it?  Well since my husband loves it, I decided to give it try when my parents were visiting since they love it too.  So, this is a recipe I found in Cooking Light and I actually hate to admit it, but I liked it too.  Not sure about love, but I would make it again.  So here it is…

DIRECTIONS:

Eggplant:

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs (they suggest whole-wheat panko since it held up best)
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 (1-pound) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • Cooking Spray

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (16 oz) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1 (24 oz) jar premium marinara sauce (or homemade)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz thinly sliced Mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) finely grated fontina cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375*

2.  to make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tbsp water in a shallow dish.  Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess.  Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 375* for 30 minutes or until golden turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes. 

3.  To make filling combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).

4.  To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce.  Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 tsp salt.  Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spready half of ricotta mixture over sauce and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina.  Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. 

Bake at 375* for 35 minutes.  Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina.  Bake at 375* for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts.  Cool for 10 minutes. 

Yields – 10 servings with 1 slice for all or 5 servings with 2 slices for all.

COOKS NOTE:   This is almost like stacking a napolean, but you are working with Eggplant and it’s very savory and when finished, really good.  the Panko really does make the dish, so use that over regular bread crumbs.  When I made it, I forgot to pick up Fontina cheese so used Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella and it was just as good.   I enjoyed it thoroughly as did my family and Mike (which matters most) and wouldn’t change a thing.

Mangiamo!

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