Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

So a few months ago, we got new neighbors.  I should say as a background, that for the first almost two years here, two of our good friends lived next door.  So we were used to being pretty close with our neighbors.  They even have a dog that looks like little buddy!

Then they moved :( and some new neighbors moved in...well actually, there was another guy in between, but he was always was gone.  So we were excited when new neighbors moved in that were about our age.  After months of "let's do dinner!" promises, we finally squared away a date. 

Of course with new friends though, it's a gamble trying to figure out what they will like to eat, or not like to eat. I settled on some eggplant parmesan.  It's a good dish that lots of people like.  I've played around with different types of eggplant parmesan.  It takes a while to cook it if you sautee each piece of eggplant, and honestly it just gets too soggy.  The thing about eggplant is that it will soak up all of that oil.  Kind gross in my opinion.  I've also tried cooking it just dredged in panko and egg and just cooking it like that.  Still too soggy.  

So this time I decided to bake the eggplant dredged in panko and egg before putting it in the casserole.  The result?  Light, fluffy and extremely satisfying eggplant parm.  Everyone really loved it and I think it may be the winning recipe for eggplant parm going forward.  Also, health-wise, it's pretty good.  Win-win!

3 medium eggplants
3 eggs
2 cups panko
4 cups part skim ricotta
2 cups shredded paremsan
2 C chopped fresh basil
1/2 C olive oil
2 T oregano
1 T ground black pepper
1/2 T crushed red pepper
5 cloves garlic
4 C tomato puree (such as San Marzano)
12 oz fresh mozzarella
2 large tomatoes

I found some pretty amazing eggplants.  All multicolored!

Preheat the oven to 425°. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

Combine the panko and 1/2 C of the parmesan and put in a bowl.  Beat two of the eggs in a bowl and place next to the bowl with the panko.  

Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the panko and put on a baking sheet either lined with a Silpat or with aluminum foil....or one that is nonstick.  You get the point.

Bake for 15 minutes and then bake turn over and bake on the other side for 5 minutes.  When done, remove from the oven and let cool. 

While the eggplant is baking, chop the garlic and the basil.

Combine the garlic, red pepper flakes, the last egg, basil, 1/2 C parmesan with the ricotta.

Mix the tomato puree, oregano,  olive oil, pepper in a bowl.  

Heat up the tomato mix in a large saucepan.  Add half of the basil to the tomato mixture.  Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices as well as the mozzarella.Reduce the oven heat to 375°.  

Begin to layer in a 9x11 pan.   Here is the pattern:

Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce
Tomato Sauce

Bake for 45 minutes with the aluminum foil and then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. 

And with out table all set and pretty....

Time to eat! 


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