Monday, September 26, 2011

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan


I have been talking about doing Meatless Mondays (or any other day for that matter) for a while. I have finally been able to make a meatless meal! This came with a few trials and a few things I would tweak the next go round, but all in all this was a good family meal that my son even seemed to enjoy. (The recipe reflects the tweaks.)

This was a special dish because I made everything but the cheese from scratch, my original intention was to use store bought. I had all these ‘butts’ of bread and a lot of basil and tomatoes so I went all out. The last time I made an Eggplant Parmesan, I pan fried the eggplant this time I was trying to get the crunch but with a little less fat, so I baked it.  I also used three different types of eggplant, the graffiti are my favorite, I think they tend to be less seedy and less bitter.  They just seem to have a really great flavor.

For the eggplant:

5-6 smaller eggplants
1-2 tablespoons salt
1-2 cups flour
3 eggs
About 4 cups Homemade breadcrumbs (recipe follows)

Peel and slice the eggplant, sprinkle with the salt and place in a colander or cooling racks and let drain, for about 30-40 minutes. Wipe any excess salt. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place two baking sheets in the oven. Mean while start the dredging process.  Dip the eggplant in the flour then egg then breadcrumbs, set aside.  Once you have a baking sheet worth, place on the preheated sheets and back for about 20 minutes, flipping once.  Continue until all eggplant is cooked.

For the breadcrumbs:

10-12 slices old bread (not moldy)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh herbs; I used basil, parsley and marjoram
1/2 - 1 cup panko bread crumb

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.  Toss with the panko.  Super Simple.

For the sauce:

This is a simple marinara type sauce.

5-6 heirloom tomatoes, fairly large.
1 large bunch of basil
2-4 cloves of garlic
1 medium shallot

Cube up the tomatoes and place in a large sauce pan.  Cook on a medium heat until the tomatoes break down. Remove from heat to cook.  While the tomatoes cool, brown the shallot and garlic.  Add to the tomatoes.  Pour the tomato mixture in to a food processor and pulse a few times, add the basil and pulse until everything is incorporated.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cheese Blend:

2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 cups grated parmesan


Layer the eggplant, sauce then cheese blend.  Repeat.  Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.