Unlike last year, we have had a boon in eggplants this year and have enjoyed eating them and discovering new ways to prepare them. They are delicious when dredged first with egg then dipped in breadcrumbs and then lightly sauteed and eaten as a side dish. Using this same method and then assembled as Eggplant Parmesan makes for a healthy, vegetarian dinner meal served with a crisp green salad topped with fruit and baby tomatoes and some warm italian bread to the side.
I use the delicious recipe from The Victory Garden by Marian Morash and the recipe is as follows with some of my own minimal additions:
2 lb eggplant - that's about 1-2 eggplants sliced 3/8 of an inch and then salted and patted dry
1-2 cups of bread crumbs
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tsp of fresh oregano
1 lb of mozzarella cheese - I use grated
3 cups of tomato sauce - I use 1-2 jars of spagetti sauce
Peel the eggplant, slice and salt. After 30 minutes pat it dry. Beat the eggs with 2 Tablespoons of water. Dip the eggplant slices first into the eggs, then the crumbs. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large frying pan, and then saute the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on brown paper ( I used paper towels). Add oil as you complete sauteing all the eggplant.
Place half the eggplant slices in a a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, half the oregano and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Cover with 1/2 the tomato sauce. Repeat the layers. Top with the last of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 6-8.
Recently, I enjoyed a different variation of this meal at Florentino's in Newtown (18 South Street, 215.860.1133), where they slice the eggplant very thin and then lightly saute it, stack it about an inch high and then add the sauce and cheese on top instead layered in between the eggplant. The eggplant flavor is more prominent and very delicious. Thank you, Sue Ann, for a wonderful outing!