Monday, February 1, 2010
Eggplant Parmesan - Recipes to Rival
It's hard to believe it's the first of February. January has really flown by, and, as usual, I had to scramble to complete the Recipes to Rival challenge for the month. I was slow to check what our hostess, Tempera, who blogs at High on the Hog, had chosen for us to prepare. As a result, we are having meatless "Parm" twice this month. Last week I made a wonderful Baked Portobello Parmesan that you can read about here. Tempera selected a recipe by Mario Batali and I must say it, too, made a lovely meal. The only change I made was to cut ingredients for the recipe in half. Here is what Tempera had to say about the recipe she selected:
"Somewhere in the world eggplant is in season. I know this because my local supermarket just got in some real beauties. So in celebration here is an Eggplant Parmesan recipe for one of my favorite Italian chefs."
Here is Mario Batali's Recipe.
Basic Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until carrot is quite soft. Add tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve.
This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Eggplant Parmesan - Parmigiana di Melanzane
2 pounds (about 2 medium-sized) eggplant
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, seasoned with 1/4 chopped fresh basil leaves and 1/4 cup pecorino
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Wash and towel dry eggplant. Slice eggplant horizontally about 1/4-inch thick. Place slices in a large colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside to rest about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse eggplant and dry on towels.
3) In a sauté pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil until just smoking. Press drained eggplant pieces into seasoned bread crumb mixture and sauté until light golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all pieces. On a cookie sheet lay out 4 largest pieces of eggplant. Place 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce over each piece and place a thin slice of mozzarella on top of each. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and top each with next smallest piece of eggplant, then sauce then mozzarella. Repeat layering process until all the ingredients have been used, finishing again with the Parmigiano.
4) Place pan in the oven and bake until the top of each little stack is golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Fresh bread crumbs are required for the coating to stick without an egg wash.
The oil must be HOT HOT HOT or the eggplant will not cook fast enough and will be a greasy soggy mess.
The Mozzarella must be very thinly sliced or the eggplant tower will slide (it will still taste great)