Monday, May 31, 2010

What's Cookin? Eggplant Parmesan

In honor of Memorial Day, I cooked up a red, white and purple dish for a pot luck. Yeah, I know...purple is close enough right? I love love love eggplant and since I've been nursing my little eggplant starters, it's made me hungry. I've been craving this dish for a while now.

I don't care for the Italian globe eggplants sold in most chain supermarkets. I prefer the Asian varieties as I find them sweeter and devoid of bitter seeds. I usually lean towards the Japanese eggplant but it was more expensive at time of purchase than the Chinese version. *I'm cheap like that* I'm waiting until my own little plants produce fruit so I have a ton of Japanese eggplant all to myself. Bwahahaha!! Just kidding, I'll share!
I love eggplant parmesan but don't like the grease involved. I usually bake my eggplant and use panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) to create delicious eggplant slices. I hope you enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted from a recipe from Whole Foods

olive oil cooking spray
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
about 1 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4-5 Japanese or Chinese eggplant (sliced into 1/4 inch slices)
1/4 c. plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
8 oz. fresh baby portobello mushrooms, diced into small pieces
1 (26 oz) jar marinara sauce, divided
15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese, divided
2 c. thinly grated fresh mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, divided

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets (depends how much eggplant you have) with foil and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
2) Beat eggs with water in a shallow bowl. Place panko on a small plate and arrange a dipping station. Dredge eggplant slices in egg wash, then dip in panko. Lay eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet (if you have to slightly overlap them, it's okay).
3) Drizzle eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake eggplant about 20 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and flip eggplant slices over. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. After they are done, set aside and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
4) While eggplant is cooking, heat a small saucepan with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until onions are transparent. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Add marinara sauce and mix well. Stir until heated through. Turn off heat.
5) Lightly spray a casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Add a layer of 1/2 of the eggplant slices. Using small spoonfuls, drop 1/2 of the ricotta cheese on the eggplant. Add a layer of 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and then 1/2 of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Repeat the layering process again with the remaining ingredients.
6) Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and bubble, about 45 minutes.


tom | tall clover farm said...

Nice recipe Holly, I especially like the use of pankos and the baking sheet method instead of frying. I grew Japanese eggplant last year and would grill and baste them with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Delicious. Of course my homemade Mousaka wasn't bad either.

~Holly~ said...

Thanks Tom! Ooohhh, I love mousaka. If you have a tried and true recipe you'd like to share, I would love to make it at home!! Thanks for stopping by!