eggplant recipes

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

I have been making this dish for a long time and it is always a favorite. Eggplant Parmesan is a cheesy and  satisfying vegetarian meal, even for the die-hard meat lovers among us.

The recipe has changed over time. I used to dredge the eggplant slices in flour before baking. It was very good that way. My mom used to bread eggplant slices for my father, using bread crumbs. She would serve the eggplant with a little tomato sauce on top and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. He loved them.

That is what first inspired me to bread the eggplant slices, rather than just using the flour dredge.  I think the breaded eggplant slices stand up well to the other ingredients. They stay a little crunchier than the “flour only” version.

I also used to just use mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. A friend said she added ricotta, like you would for a lasagna. I tried it and liked the addition of the ricotta. Now I make it that way all the time.

The biggest change might have been how I cook the eggplant before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. I used to pan fry the eggplant. Let me just say that eggplant soak up oil like a sponge. I remember making Eggplant Parmesan for a group of 250 once and went through an enormous amount of oil. Now, I just place the breaded eggplant slices on a baking sheet and drizzle oil all over them, before baking them in the oven. I use a lot less oil that way. It is also a lot simpler than pan frying.

So here is my often revised recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.  In my family, we just call it E.P.

Eggplant Parmesan

2 large eggplants

salt

flour

1 egg

½ c. half and half or milk

Pepper

1 T. Tuscan seasoning- recipe follows

About 2 c. of bread crumbs

oil

1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese

3 c. tomato sauce or marinara sauce

12 oz. mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese – you could also use Asiago or Romano cheese, if you prefer

Peel and slice eggplant about ¾ -inch thick. You don’t have to peel the eggplant if you don’t want to. Place about 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl and season with salt. Set aside. Combine egg, half and half, pepper to taste, and half of the Tuscan seasoning in bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish, set aside.  Dredge eggplant slices in flour, dip each slice in egg wash, then dip in bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly.  Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet lightly coated with oil. Once all the slices are in the pan, drizzle with a little more oil. Bake in a 400-degree oven, turning once, until browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices. Combine ricotta with remaining Tuscan seasoning and spread over the eggplant. Top cheese with a little more sauce and another layer of eggplant. Top with mozzarella, remaining eggplant and remaining sauce. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly and browned around the edges. Serves 6-8.

Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper

Combine all. Store in a cool, dry place. Use for any number of recipes, from marinara sauce, to salad dressings.

Baked Eggplant

Baked Eggplant

I love eggplant prepared in a lot of different ways. I must say, this preparation is one of my favorites. I think it is because it reminds me of my parents.

My mother used to bread and bake eggplant this way. My dad loved it- and he was not a big eggplant fan. I guess pretty much anything tastes better when breaded. She would top the eggplant with some cheese and sometimes with some marinara sauce.

I cut the eggplant in slices, but you could also cut them in strips and serve like French fries, if you prefer.

One of the problems  with eggplant is about how much oil it will absorb when cooking. If you fry these slices in a skillet- they will soak up the oil like a sponge. I prefer to bake the eggplant, with a drizzle of oil. They come out crispy, but not greasy.

They make a nice side dish or even main dish. I topped mine with fresh tomato sauce and Asiago cheese.   Mozzarella was what my mom used. I often use Parmesan cheese or a Pecorino Romano.

Baked Eggplant

1 large eggplant or 2 medium

salt

1 egg

1/2 c. milk or half and half

pepper

1 T. Tuscan seasoning* recipe follows or use another blend of Italian herbs

1 t. garlic powder

about 1 cup of bread crumbs

1/2 c. oil

1/2 c. Asiago cheese, or more

Peel and slice eggplant. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle generously with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse and pat dry. Prepare egg wash by mixing the egg with the milk or half and half, pepper, a little more salt, Tuscan seasoning and garlic powder. Place in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. One slice at a time, dip eggplant in egg wash, then in the bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Drizzle with the oil and bake for about 25 minutes. Turn slices after 15 minutes and continue baking until eggplant slices are golden brown and tender. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes longer. Serve as is, or with a marinara sauce. Serves 3-4.

*Tuscan Seasoning

½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper

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