Are you one of those people who don’t like eggplant? Probably because it tastes bitter and just kind of nasty, right? That’s because it’s been cooked without taking away the bitter juices! That one step can make the difference between bitter and delicious. Want to know how? Read on!
I had some houseguests over on the weekend and so I was cooking some larger-sized meals than I usually do. I had put an Eggplant Parmesan recipe on the menu when planning the weekend, but didn’t get around to making it — too busy catching up with friends! So I made it tonight. I’ve already eaten a serving, and packed one for the DH’s lunch tomorrow, and he had another serving as an evening snack. And I’m tempted to eat some more as a midnight snack! It’s healthy. Virtuous, even. In fact, I’d probably be doing myself a favour eating it, given that eggplant is high in fibre. It’s settled. *interruption to eat eggplant parm*
*returns, smacking lips* Tasty! This makes a lasagna pan full of Eggplant Parmesan, so you can serve it as a main dish for dinner, or do what a lot of second-generation Italians do, and eat it on a dense bun for lunch the next day. Randomly, did you know that a lot of Italians who have moved to Canada have two kitchens? The regular kitchen, usually on the first floor, kept nice and clean and looking up-to-date, and then the second kitchen in the basement, where the real cooking gets done. Really. I think it evolved as a lot of Italians moved to Canada after the second world war, often in the building trades, and worked on improving their lives and standard of living. I think it’s mostly gone by the wayside, but it was definitely a thing!
Ok, on with the recipe!
Family-Sized Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 c. flour
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- salt to sprinkle over each eggplant slice
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 c. oil
- 1 large jar of classic tomato spaghetti sauce
- 1 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/3 c. parmesan cheese, grated
Ok, first things first: slice up that eggplant into 1/2 cm thick slices. Place on a plate and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for half an hour. You’ll notice that brownish water starts beading up on the slices — those are the bitter juices. After half an hour, rinse the salt and bitter juices off the eggplant. Now your eggplant will taste sweet after cooking!
Mix the flour, pepper, salt, breadcrumbs, and oregano and put in one bowl. Mix egg and milk and put in another bowl. Heat oil in a skillet on medium to medium high heat. Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg/milk mixture, then into the breadcrumb mixture, and then fry in the oil until golden on each side. Set aside.
Now we layer the dish! Place a layer of fried eggplant in a lasagna pan. Cover with half the sauce and half the cheese (mozzarella AND parmesan). Repeat.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for half an hour, or until the eggplant slices are fully cooked through.
Mangia! Mangia! (And gesticulate emphatically about how delicious this dish is!)
I served this dish with some greens beans from our freezer, picked and preserved by little ol’ me! You can definitely taste the different between these green beans and your standard frozen-in-a-plastic-bag kind! Any other suggestions for side dishes? Let me know in the comments!
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