Wednesday, March 6, 2013


So I have made a million dishes with eggplant...mostly in place of meat during lent....but this is truly the best...the KEY is to make sure you steep the eggplant first.  That method takes all the harshness out of it and gives it such a silky texture.

To Steep:
1. Cut the spiky top and the bottom from the eggplant.  Peel it (you can leave the skin on if you get young baby eggplant in season which is mid-late summer...I wish)
2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise to about 1/4-1/2 inch slices
3. Using a colander stand a layer of sliced eggplant around the inside and sprinkle with salt.  Stand another layer around the first and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat as needed.
4. Place a deep dish under the colander to collect the drippings.
5. Steep in the colander for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour
6. When ready to make the parmesan, dry the eggplant slices thoroughly with paper towels.

Steeped eggplant (3 lbs for 6 servings)
flour/egg/panko breadcrumb breading station
2 cups canned peeled whole tomatoes drained and chopped*
1 tbl olive oil
10 basil leaves chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 lb fresh boccocini, sliced
1/2 lb whole milk mozzarella grated
canola oil for frying

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in the center of oven.

Pour flour on a plate add a bit of salt and pepper.  In a wide bowl beat three eggs. On a another plate pour some panko breadcrumbs.  Flour each slice of eggplant, shake extra off, dredge thru egg wash and lightly..lightly..lightly add some panko.
In a large saute pan add about 1-1/2" of canola oil and heat.  Toss a piece of panko in the oil and when it sizzles the oil is hot enough.  Fry each slice of eggplant until just lightly golden brown on each side.  Only flip once.

In a saute pan add olive oil.  Heat on medium to high and add 2 cups of tomatoes.  Season with a bit of salt and cook down until reduced by half.

Butter bottom and all sides of  a 13 X 9 pan.  Place one layer of eggplant on the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of your selected sauce. Add a layer of cheeses.  Evenly distribute each of the three cheeses.  Toss a few basil pieces on top of the cheeses. Repeat this process ending with a layer of eggplant on the top.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Eggplant can throw off some liquid so cook for 20 minutes and press the edges with a spoon and take off any liquid that may be there.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Let settle for several minutes (like 10) and then cut and serve with bread and extra parmesan cheese.

*You ask why not buy diced or crushed tomatoes - well you can but always understand that the more processes that go into canned tomatoes the more salt is added and more flavor is removed. You can also use a marinara sauce  - I just used a bolognese meat sauce (it wasn't a Friday in Lent)


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