More CSA fun! Another item we've received a lot of recently is eggplant. Wanting to do something a bit traditional but on the lighter side, Nick found a healthier eggplant Parmesan recipe online that came from Shape magazine.
|Farm Fresh Eggplant|
I have always loved eggplant, but somehow when I make it at home it never quite tastes right. Turns out, there is a method to preparing eggplant properly that I NEVER knew!
|All sliced up|
Before you actually start cooking the eggplant, you need to slice is up nicely, put it in a bowl with a bunch of salt and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes to take out all the bitterness. The salt pulls out the moisture, so doing this in a colander in the sink will help. Once its done sitting, dry the slices off with a paper towel and wipe off some of the salt if you like.
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into 1∕4-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 easpoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup panko
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups jarred marinara sauce, divided
- 2 ounces (about 1∕2 packed cup) mozzarella
The real recipe called for part-skim mozzarella, but for some reason my brain was not working when I went to the store and came back with fresh mozzarella (so much for the healthier version!). I also happened to have a brick of Parmesan at home, so to begin cooking, I shredded the mozzarella and the Parmesan. Since I love cheese, I shredded a bit extra.
Lovely, non-bitter, eggplant slices were laid out.
To give the panko a bit extra flavor, I toasted them in a fry pan with some olive oil, which took about 5 minutes. I stirred the panko about every 30 seconds in order to make sure it all got toasted.
Once the breadcrumbs were toasted, I added them to a bowl big enough to fit the eggplant slices. When the crumbs had cooled I added to it 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the garlic powder, chopped fresh basil, oregano and pepper.
|Herbed and Spiced Panko|
In two other bowls I added flour and an egg, which I beat lightly. You could also use just the egg whites for an even healthier version.
To coat the slices, I first dipped one side of the eggplant slices in the flour, then the egg and then the panko mixture and one by one, laid them out on a foil-lined cookie sheet with the unbreaded side down. I actually ran out of egg so I had to crack another open and I used all of the panko - so making a bit more if you have extra eggplant is necessary.
I put the cookie sheet into a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the eggplant was tender. At that point I pulled them out of the oven and began assembling. To begin, I sprayed a 9 x 9 glass dish with cooking spray and spooned about a quarter cup of marinara sauce into the dish. Next, I added about half of the eggplant slices to the dish. I added a bit of the marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan - then I added the final slices of eggplant and topped it all again with the marinara, dollops of mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan.
|Eggplant Parmesan Assembled|
|Cooked Eggplant Parmesan|
|Ready to Eat|
Overall this was a nice alternative dish that still maintained the comfort feel and taste!