This is the kind of dish that you can impress your classy friends with. Eggplant has an air of sophistication to it, I think.
Eggplant parmesan is always a crowd pleaser, and since it uses many of the same ingredients as traditional chicken parmesan, they can be made at the same time to accomodate mixed company.
I’ve pared this recipe down to six essential ingredients, all of which you probably already have in the kitchen, with the exception of the eggplant. It can, though, be spruced up in a number of ways. The sauce is a big deal with eggplant parm, and I sometimes like to add spinach to my sauce of choice. Ricotta cheese also makes a great addition, but it isn’t necessary by any means for an enjoyable meal.
When you pick out the eggplant, be sure to get one that has tight, smooth skin and feels firm to the touch. Don’t let it sit around too long, or it’ll get mushy inside and will become unpleasantly bitter.
You can probably whip up this dish in a half an hour, not including baking time. BUT, you could probably get away with saying it took 2 hours – and let’s be honest, that’s far more impressive.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 medium size eggplant
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 8 oz of mozzarella or mixed Italian cheese
- 5 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained (optional)
- Italian seasoning, parsley to taste
- 9 x 9 casserole dish
- One large pan or skillet
Here’s what to do:
Step 1) Peel the eggplant with a potato peeler. It’s not necessary to get all the skin off, but get most of it.
Step 2) Cut it 1/2 inch rounds, lay them on a paper towel and lightly sprinkle with salt. Let it sit for a few minutes to sweat out the bitterness – this step may be one of those cross-your-eyes-and-they’ll-get-stuck-that-way type rumors, but I believe it anyways.
Step 3) Take out one bowl and two small plates. Lightly beat two eggs in the bowl, spread flour on one plate and bread crumbs on the other.
Step 4) Take each slice of eggplant, lay both sides in the flour, then dunk in the eggs, then lay both sides in the bread crumbs.
Step 5) In a very lightly oiled pan over medium heat, cook each side of the eggplant slices for about 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 6) In a 9 x 9 casserole dish, pour about 1/4 inch of sauce in the bottom. Then top with slices of eggplant. Then top with 2 oz of your cheese. Repeat these layers four times, or until the dish is full. The very top layer should be cheese. Then lightly sprinkle with your favorite Italian seasoning.
Step 7) Place the casserole dish a 375 degrees over for 20 minutes or until the top layer of cheese is beginning to brown. Leave the dish uncovered, but I like to set it on a cookie sheet just in case sauce bubbles over.
Step 8 ) Garnish with Parsley and eat.
I’ve got an empty fridge now. So, I’ll be off to the grocery tomorrow to restock. I’ve got a couple interesting ideas up my sleeve for new recipes, so keep a look out. And for the record, I’m always on the hunt for good ideas, so leave em in the comments if you got em.