So these days I'm completely motivated by food. With Little Sticks squashing my stomach in to my UPPER rib cage, somewhere around my shoulder, I get to eat a few extra meals each day! That's never a bad thing! =)
So with a looming grocery store run hanging over me yesterday I thought to myself "What's for dinner?" and THANKFULLY I had an answer! (so often I'm like... "I don't know... Whatever!?" But yesterday I got and answer! Woo hoo!!! Eggplant Parmesan!!! With this dish being one of my all time favorites I thought I'd do a little "blogumenting", is that a word?
My little sister made it for us for the first time when she came shortly after El was born and we loved it! SInce then, it's my "go to" meal when "we're having friends over for dinner", " a good friend has been in the hospital or has a new baby", or "The Hub wants to eat something that's not a casserole". It's ALWAYS met with RAVE reviews! It also freezes well and makes for awesome leftovers!
You will need:
1 large eggplant
2 cups of bread crumbs
canola or vegetable oil or olive doesn't really matter
Approximately 48 ozs of homemade pasta sauce (made in advance) or 2 jars of whatever flavor of marinara sauce you like (I like Classico Tomato & Basil)
42-3 cups of mozzarella
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (not canned)
STEP 1 - Preheat canola oil in a cast iron skillet (once oil is hot keep heat on medium to medium low, depending on your stove and pan, to prevent oil from smoking). At the same time, preheat oven to 350
NOTE TO READER: I use a cast iron skillet because it maintains a pretty consistent temperature and canola oil because it has a higher smoke point, both of which make it so that we are less likely to set off the fire alarm. =)
STEP 2 - Peal the skin off the eggplant and first slice the eggplant into quarter inch slices, then cut those slices in half,
Bread the eggplant slices. Have one shallow bowl for an egg wash (break eggs into bowl and mix whites and yolks together) and one shallow bowl for bread crumbs and a clean dry cutting board or cookie sheet for breaded eggplant slices. Once pealed, cut, and breaded they should look like this.
Note to Pregnant Readers: If your oven/stove top controls are on the front of your appliance beware, your baby belly likes to adjust the size of the flame. Oops! =)
(Holy Crap where the heck are my feet!)
(Oh thank goodness... There they are!)
STEP 3 - Once all eggplant slices have been breaded place into hot oil and brown on each side. According to the below picture, I can usually fit 8 or 9 half slices in the pan at a time.
STEP 4 - After all the eggplant slices have been browned, it's time to assemble. This goes together in layers, sort of like a lasagna. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with a ladle full of marinara sauce
NOTE TO READER: If your going to freeze half for later or take half to a friend, use two 8x8 baking dishes. Also when I'm freezing or taking to a friend I get the disposable aluminum 8x8 DEEP baking pans from the grocery store. Makes clean up super easy and they don't have to worry with cleaning and returning a dish.
Layers go like this on top of the thin coat of marinara sauce, layer browned eggplant, then cover with spinach, then mozzarella cheese, then a few torn basil leaves, and then another ladle of marinara sauce. Should sort of look like this.
(It takes about 3 layers to use all the eggplant.)
STEP 5 - Once all the eggplant has been layered, top with a nice layer of marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Should look like this just before you stick it in the oven.
Step 6 - Bake at 350 for 30 min.
Then it's yum yum eat it up!
Till next time,