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)


Glennis said...

One of my favorite dishes, no matter what the recipe!!

I haven't made one in a long time, and now I think I will plan for one soon.

Mary Bergfeld said...

g, I agree! Eggplant parm really is wonderful. You should post your favorite version of the recipe. I'd love to try it. Blessings...Mary

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

DELICIOUS AND SO SO GOOD-i love this recipe very muc but our brinjal season aint up yet.....

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

First let me say this is my all-time favorite thing to eat, no question about it! As a child, I requested it every year for my birthday dinner. My Italian mother never salted her eggplant, nor did her mother, and so I never felt the need, but I did it once because everyone on TV seemed to be doing it. Honestly, I didn't think it added anything to the dish (except for an added step). I've purchased countless eggplants over the years; only one was biter.

Also, I see your recipe doesn't call for peeling the eggplant. I find the texture of the skin too leathery to eat, but I know some peolpe don't mind it.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped in the grocery store, when buying eggplant, and have been asked, "what do you do with those?".

I've served my eggplant parmesan to many people who had never tried it before, only to have them swoon over it, so the I support all efforts to spread the word about how wonderful a dish it is!


Schnitzel and the Trout said...

Always a favorite. The melding of the flavors is so perfect. Great picture.

Zurin said...

I love eggplant...and with cheese it looks divine. we have it with a 'sambal' here..its spicy. but must try ur version. it looks too goodto miss!

George Gaston said...

Mary, as someone who does not fix eggplant very often, this recipe sounds delicious. So, I will definitely give it a try. Many thanks...

Sasha said...

Eggplant Parm is such a guilty pleasure but so worth it : )

Claudia said...

I never think to make this despite the fact that it was a stand-by in my home growing up. Time to revisit my childhood. My mother used to grow eggplants in New York City especially for this.

joey said...

I must search for some delectable eggplant ... thanks for sharing this recipe!

Katy ~ said...

I LOVE eggplant parm, pretty much love them all, but have never made it, only ordered it in restaurants. The last one I had was a kind of "deconstructed" eggplant parm, not casserole style, a surprise presentation, but very very good.

Heather B said...

Great job! It looks fabulous!

Unknown said...

So good I put it here:

Mary Bergfeld said...

Thank you Joy! That was really nice of you. I do appreciate it.

Jamie said...

I LOVE eggplant parmesan and I have only made it once! Yours looks so delicious that its giving me the craving again!

Melissa Peterman said...

Hi Mary!

I just found your blog via Foodista- it's absolutely stunning!! Can't wait to read about more of your recipes.

Anonymous said...

Cant wait to try it!

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