Thursday night I had a serious craving for Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Picatta, so I closed my computer, poured myself a glass of wine and got into the Zen of dinner. It was soooooo good I made it again Friday night, have been enjoying the leftovers and honestly I could easily make it again and keep going. I don’t normally like leftovers, or eating the same thing twice in a week, but this harkened back to my childhood and old style Italian restaurants when the sauce tasted like someone actually cooked it and it didn’t come out of can. I honestly can’t imagine how an eggplant hater wouldn’t enjoy this dish, so if you are an eggplant hater maybe you might consider giving it a try. Of course the real secret here is making your own sauce from the tomatoes in the share, but hopefully most of you are already doing that. If you aren’t try Marcella Hazan’s recipe, it is THE BEST fresh sauce ever. I am including a version from Food52 so you have it.
2 lb Tomatoes
5 TB Butter
1 medium Onion, peeled and cut in half not chopped or diced
Salt to taste **For my Eggplant Parm I used Eatwell Rosemary Salt
First wash your tomatoes, cut the stem end off and quickly blanch in boiling water. Allow to cool. When you can handle them remove the skin. You can coarsely chop or cut in half. Put the tomatoes into a heavy bottom sauce pan, add the butter, onion and salt and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. This can cook on the stove while you are prepping the eggplant.
For the Eggplant:
1 Eggplant, sliced to about 1 1/2” thickness
Flour for dredging
2 Eggs, well beaten
About 2 cups Breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper
Basil and Parsely, finely chopped
Oil for frying
Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat a large heavy skillet with a good amount of oil, at least 1/2” deep, to medium high. Coat both sides of the eggplant in the flour, then dip into the egg. I added about 3 TB of Parmesan to the breadcrumbs, along with some salt and pepper, and mixed it well. After the egg dip, coat the eggplant with the breadcrumbs. Carefully put the eggplant in the hot oil. I use tongs and try not to splatter and burn myself too many times. Fill your pan, but don’t over crowd, you want working room. Once golden brown, gently turn over and cook the other side. You don’t want it to brown too quickly because the eggplant needs time to cook through, so if you find your eggplant is browning really fast lower your temp a bit. I used a smaller baking dish which is a little deeper, it is about a 9 X 11. I spooned in enough sauce to cover the bottom, then sprinkled on a little bit of our Rosemary Salt (I hadn’t salted my sauce). Then I put down one layer of fried eggplant, sprinkled over Paremesan and Mozzarella. Repeat it all with a seance layer of everything, with a final light topping of sauce. Pop it into the oven and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. If you want you can add another layer of Mozzarella and Parmesan, turn the oven off and let it sit in there until the cheese melts. When serving sprinkle on a little chopped Basil and Parsley.