Last weekend I was craving comfort food, but wanted to cook something that wouldn't make me feel extremely guilty for eating. So, I decided to whip up some eggplant parmesan.
To make this yourself you'll need:
1 medium / large eggplant
Mozzarella cheese - I like shredded and whole slices of fresh mozzarella
1 tablespoon water
1-2 cups of bread crumbs (I used panko & whole wheat)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of flour
1 8oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
Small handful of fresh basil, thyme, & oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
To start, add all the ingredients for the sauce into a magic bullet or food processor and blend until smooth. Then move the sauce into a pot and simmer on low while you prep the eggplant. Don't forget to stir the sauce every couple of minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees
Cut the eggplant in even slices, about the width of your pinky finger (I used a mandolin slicer).
Measure out all of your ingredients and place them on shallow dishes.
Create an assembly line of ingredients to limit the mess on your counter tops. Line up the eggplant slices first, then the flour, then the egg, and lastly the breadcrumbs.
Dip each slice of eggplant in the order listed above* and place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
*Try using a separate fork for each dish, as this part can get very sticky & messy!
Your eggplant should have a nice coating of breadcrumbs like this.
Halfway through the first batch I ran out of panko breadcrumbs, so I switched to the whole wheat. I'm a huge fan of panko, but found the whole wheat breadcrumbs coated each slice of eggplant better and resulted in a crispier finish.
Bake the eggplant in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until brown, then flip them and bake for an additional 3 minutes.
Once your eggplant is cooked and your sauce has been simmering for about 30 minutes start assembling the ingredients into stacks in an oven safe dish.
Start with a small spoonful of sauce on the bottom of your dish, then add a piece of eggplant, sauce, & mozzarella cheese. Continue this pattern until you reach a desirable height, I had four pieces of eggplant per stack.
I really like making eggplant parm this way for two reasons:
1. It looks gorgeous, I mean look at the way those beautiful colors look when combined!
2. Each piece of eggplant remains relatively crispy, so you're not eating a big pile of mush.
When you're happy, place the eggplant stacks under the broiler on high until the top layer of cheese starts to appear goldeny-brown, like this...
Plate a stack off eggplant parm with a little extra sauce on the bottom.
And garnish with fresh herbs.
Heat up some pasta or pair this dish with a fresh salad and there you have it. A delicious dinner!
What do you think? Would you make this deconstructed eggplant parm?