Hello Fall! Isn’t it ironic that the first week into September and our weather is in the 60s already. I love Michigan and what this time of year has to offer. We are on the tail end of our crops and the veggies and fruits are making some of their final appearances. If you haven’t used your eggplant from last week and you are getting a new one this week here is a delicious recipe for you.

Please don’t be intimidated by the steps below, it is totally worth it and delicious. This dish is also great for leftovers and a healthy lunch to bring to the office. Worried if the kids will like it…sure they will…it is smothered in a simple tomato sauce and layered with mouth watering, melted cheeses!

Eggplant Parmesan

  • 2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced in 1/4″ rounds
  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves

Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices.  Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt.  Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander.  Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours.  The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.

While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce.  Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor.  Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.

When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture.  In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs.  Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl.  Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil.  When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg.  Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once.  Drain on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In the bottom of a 10×15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce.  Top with one third of the eggplant slices.  Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices.  Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.

Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil.  Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan. Once it is assembled, add the chopped green pepper on top.

Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes.  Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Have a fabulous week – do something new and cool with your sassy self!

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