Friday, September 25, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

I love Eggplant Parmesan. If it is done correctly, it is one of my favorites! Here is a pretty easy recipe that tastes pretty good too.

Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/4" thick rounds
1 Tbsp kosher salt
8 slices high quality white bread torn into quarters
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
6 Tbsp vegetable oil

Tomato Sauce:
3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 generous tablespoon)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan
10 fresh basil leaves, torn for garnish

1. Toss eggplant slices and salt until combined and set in a large strainer. Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 Tbsp liquid (maybe 30-45 minutes). Arrange eggplant slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with more paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe of excess salt.

2. While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions, place rimmed baking sheet on each rack and heat oven to 425.
Pulse bread in a food processor to fine, even crumbs. (You should have about 4 cups). Transfer crumbs to pie plate and stir in 1 cup parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Set aside.

3. Combine flour and 1 tsp pepper in a second pie plate.

4. Beat eggs in a 3rd pie plate

5. Put eggplant slices in flour, coat the eggplant. Remove eggplant shaking off excess. Dip in eggs, then coat evenly with bread crumbs. Set breaded slices on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

6. Remove preheated baking sheets from oven. Add 3 Tbsp oil to each sheet, tiling to coat evenly with oil. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in a single layer. Bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets after 10 minutes. Flip eggplant slices over with a spatula after 20 minutes or when the bottom is browned. Remove but do not turn off oven.

7. While eggplant bakes, process 2 can diced tomatoes in a food processor until almost smooth. Heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large pan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and garlic is light golden. (About 3 minutes) Stir in all the tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce is slightly thickened. (About 15 minutes). Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Layer the eggplant slices, overlapping to fit. Put about1 cup sauce over eggplant, sprinkle with half the mozzarella and parmesan. If there is leftover eggplant you will need to use a second dish. Make the layers the same as the first dish. (If there is not enough eggplant to make more than one dish, use all the cheese on the first pan)
Leave majority of eggplant on top exposed so it will remain crisp. Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned about 13-15 minutes. Scatter basil over the top and serve.

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