Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

Friday, January 16, 2009

I have to admit... I'd never had eggplant, up until about 2 months ago. It was actually somewhat forced upon me as I received some through my organic fruit & veggie co-op. It's not that I was prejudiced against it, I was just scared of it. That giant, hulking, purple vegetable seemed like something I wouldn't want to wrestle with.

So, I gave it a try and **SURPRISE** Not only did I like it, but my kids liked it too. I don't know about you, but when my kids express love for a vegetable (and one that's actually not fried) I will definitely make it again! So here follows an Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Juan Carlos-Cruz which I modified somewhat.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 C italian seasoned bread crumbs (I actually use panko)
1/2 C flour
1/2 C egg substitute
1 medium eggplant
1 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed & minced
1 t red chili flakes
2 (15 oz) cans of crushed tomato
1 T tomato paste
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 C chopped fresh basil
1 C part-skim mozzarella
1/2 C grated Parmesan

Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Salt each round generously. Place eggplant in colander in the sink for 30 minutes to allow it the "sweat" (this just ensures that the eggplant won't be tough. Make sure and rinse off the salt at the end of the 30 minutes!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Place flour, egg substitute & bread crumbs in 3 separate shallow plates; Place wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Take a round of eggplant, coat in flour then dip in egg until covered, and then drag through the bread crumbs until completely coated. Transfer to wire rack. Repeat for each round of eggplant and bake in oven for 15 minutes

While eggplant is baking, heat olive oil in 5 quart nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add the chili flakes and stir to incorporate. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to blend completely. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in basil, and remove from heat.

Remove eggplant from oven and leave oven at 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a medium-sized casserole dish with eggplant rounds. Pour the tomato sauce over the eggplant. Top with the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is soft and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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