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Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant used to be one of those veggies I was scared to make. I just never knew how to prepare it and what to do with it. Do you salt before or after? Different recipes have different methods and which ones worked best, I had no idea since I just didn’t want to mess with it. But I recently came across this recipe in Cooks Illustrated; everything I’ve made from them has been spot-on so I decided if I am going to learn how to cook with eggplant then this would be the recipe to show me. I was not disappointed (again)! While there are several steps, it’s well worth your time. The first time I made this it was even on a weeknight and let me tell you, it didn’t even bother me about the time I spent after work preparing this dish because I was in heaven grubbing it down!

This eggplant parmesan is light, crispy and full of flavor and texture. Stick it in the broiler if you like it extra crispy for a few minutes like I did.

Be sure to use kosher salt when salting the eggplant. The coarse grains don’t dissolve as readily as the fine grains of table salt, so any excess can be easily wiped away. Use the time during which the salted eggplant sits to prepare the breading, cheeses and sauce.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 8

Ingredients

EGGPLANT

  • 2 pounds eggplant (good-sized globe eggplant) sliced into 1/4 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 slices hearty white bread, torn into quarters
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated cheese (1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

SAUCE

  • 3 (14.5-ounce) canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

Instructions

EGGPLANT

  1. Line a baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels and set aside. Toss the egg plant and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt together in a large bowl, and transfer to a colander. Let sit until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons of liquid, 30 to 45 minutes. Wipe excess salt from eggplant, then arrange on the paper towel lined baking sheet. Cover with another layer triple layer of paper towels and firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on each rack, and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pulse the bread in a food processor to fine crumbs, about 15 pulses (you should have about 4 cups). Transfer the bread crumbs to a pie plate or shallow dish and stir in Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. Wipe out the food processor bowl (do not wash), and set aside.
  3. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a large Ziplock bag and shake to combine. Beat eggs in a second pie plate or shallow dish. Place 8 to 10 slices of eggplant in the bag and shake to coat the eggplant. Remove the eggplant slices, shaking off the excess flour, then dip into the eggs, letting the excess egg run off. Then coat evenly with bread-crumb mixture. Set the breaded slices on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
  4. Remove the preheated baking sheets from the oven and add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. (Do not use olive oil, it will result in a sour flavor.) Place half of the breaded eggplant on each baking sheet in a single layer and bake until the eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with a wide spatula after 20 minutes. (Do not turn the oven off.)

SAUCE

  1. While the eggplant bakes, process 2 cans of diced tomatoes in a food processor until almost smooth, about 5 seconds. Heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and garlic is toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the processed tomatoes and the remaining can of diced tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a boil; then, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes. (You should have about 4 cups). Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the preheated baking sheets from the oven and add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. (Do not use olive oil, it will result in a sour flavor.) Place half of the breaded eggplant on each baking sheet in a single layer and bake until the eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with a wide spatula after 20 minutes. (Do not turn the oven off.)
  3. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 13X9-inch baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant slices in the dish, overlapping slices to fit. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce over the eggplant, then sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Layer in the remaining eggplant slices, then dot with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Dotting the eggplant with the tomato sauce will keep the eggplant from becoming soggy. Leaving most of the eggplant exposed will help the eggplant crisp. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned, 13-15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, scatter basil leaves on top and serve. Pass remaining sauce separately.
Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 479Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 970mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 12gSugar: 12gProtein: 21g

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Thalia @ butter and brioche

Sunday 31st of August 2014

I am loving the look of this eggplant parmesan.. definitely craving a bite of all it's cheesey goodness right now. Had to pin it!

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