Monday, July 7, 2008

Eggplant Parmigiana

Can I just tell you how much I love eggplant parm? Well, lets be honest, I love anything parm, but eggplant is at the top of the list! I'd seriously order eggplant before ordering chicken or veal. If we were to take a trip in the way back machine....when I used to house sit for my brother from time to time... I'd always make a huge pan of eggplant parm and then have it for dinner every night for the week. My Mom used to tease me and say "lemme guess, you made eggplant parm again, right?" True story!!! It's absolutely one of my all time favorite dishes.

2 large eggplants
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
oil for frying
my Favorite Marinara Sauce or any jarred sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let stand a minimum of 30 minutes so that the bitter liquid drains out of the eggplant. Give it super quick rinse under running water (to get rid of the excess salt) and pat dry with paper towels. Mix egg with a little water. Set aside. In a separate small bowl combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, then into bread crumbs. Saute a few slices at a time quickly in hot oil until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels.
In a 9x13 casserole dish, layer one-third of the eggplant, top with one third of the marinara sauce and one-third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat two more times to make three layers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing into squares.

The key to this recipe is salting the eggplant. It really makes all the difference. Usually when people say they don't like eggplant, it's likely that they're referring to the bitter flavor of the liquid that is removed by the salt. A simple alternative is to use zucchini instead of eggplant. You don't have to salt anything because there's no bitter juice to remove. Just bread it and fry as you would with the eggplant. It's AMAZINGLY good!

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