Posted by: lifewithbs | July 8, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

Now, eggplant parm may not be the most practical thing to cook when it’s 100 degrees out and you live in Texas, but I had a serious Italian food craving and this happens to be one of Brett’s favorite meals. I should be clear… MY eggplant parm isn’t his favorite, this is the first time I’ve attempted to make it on my own. A small Italian deli near my parents’ house has his favorite version.  Since there is no hope of us finding an Italian deli anywhere near our new town, I had to make my own Italian food and we were both happy with the results.

My sister Emily sent me a really cool food blog that I had never heard of before called Food 52. There are MANY recipes I want to try on this site, including the Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread and Magical Coffee.

For this version of eggplant parmesan, the eggplant slices are baked in the oven, not fried, so it is less greasy (and a bit more healthy) than normal. Yum!

Eggplant Parmesan

recipe from Food 52

Eggplant:

3 pounds eggplant. The recipe writer says to choose eggplants that are firm, smooth, and have round smooth bottoms

1 cup flour

salt

lots of olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan-reggiano cheese

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella

Sauce:

2 28 ounce cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

olive oil

Peel the eggplant (I didn’t know you could actually do this!) and slice into quarter inch slices.

Sprinkle each piece and layer in a colander, overlapping and making sure to salt each piece lightly. After you fill the colander, place a weight on top and let the eggplant sweat for at least 30 minutes.

I had to use two colanders, and used a tea kettle filled with water to weigh one down, and a bowl of water to weigh the other one down.

While the eggplant sweats, make the sauce.

Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and let it cook until is sizzles (do not let the garlic brown). Add the canned whole tomatoes with their juice, and salt. Stir and chop coarsely using a potato masher, or two knives chopping crossways.

The chopping/mashing of the tomatoes took a LONG time. Next time I might try to pour just the juices into the pan first, and chop the tomatoes up on a chopping board, to save lots of time and effort. There were little red splatters of tomato sauce all over my stove!

Lower the heat and simmer until reduced by almost half. I let the sauce simmer the whole time I was preparing and baking the eggplant, it took at least an hour.

Here’s a pre-chop picture.

Once the eggplant has finished sweating, remove from the colander and pat each piece dry. The purpose of salting each slice is to draw the moisture out.

Heat the oven to 450 and cover the bottom of 2 baking sheets with olive oil.

Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off any excess.

Place on the baking sheets and drizzle the each slice with a little olive oil. Bake until brown on one side (about 15 minutes or so) and tun over and brown the other side. Repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant.

Useing a 7×11 baking dish (I used a 4 quart Le Creuset round ceramic baking dish), spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and cover completely with eggplant.

Here’s the sauce after it’s cooked down a bit.

Sprinkle generously with the grated parmigiano-reggiano. Add another layer of sauce and then the eggplant.

Continue to build the layers until you are about two layers from the top, then add a single layer of sliced mozzarella.

Finish with a couple more layers of eggplant, sauce, and parmesan. Finish the top with parmesan.

Bake on the upper third of a 400 degree oven. 35 minutes.  Let stand for a good 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

Yes, that is a GIANT slice. I was starving and it smelled sooooooo good! This is not a quick meal, but it was worth the time and effort.

As for the life update, it’s still really hot, but life is good. The people around here are really nice, and it seems like it’s going to be a great place to spend the next couple of years.

Seeing farm animals and croplands has always been kind of a novelty to me (and a source of great excitement) so I have been enjoying all the farm scenery. Around the corner from our  house there is a big property with at least 10 goats, a horse and a donkey! The only time Izzy showed any interest in the goats was when I ran across the street to see if I could pet them. She did NOT like that.

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Responses

  1. Do you think anybody would notice if we took one of the goats? I wonder if that counts towards our “two pets” on our lease? Either way the parm was good 🙂

  2. I agree with Brett – the eggplant parm from Pranzo is the best!!! Yours looks good too, but a lot of work 🙂

  3. Sarah, I’m now baking for the second time. I loved this receipt so much I have to do it again. Drove up to a farm in Easton and hand picked three good sized plants then saw this little one that just cried out ” take me home”. I just peeled, cut, layered and salted the eggplant, now just have to pop out to the story to get some flour, good thing I have to let them “sweat it out” for at least 30 mins. Hope you’ll are have great fun – we miss you, so keep up the good work, we love your blog, you’re a big time blog girl now ……….ur-unkl”e”pat


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