January 11, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan


I went to the grocery store and bought an eggplant, because they are so pretty.  I love the deep rich purple color, which is also a sign that the eggplant is a good source of anthocyanin (an antioxidant). A good eggplant with be firm, heavy, and free of bruises or blemishes. I brought the eggplant home and sat it on my counter.  Eggplants are kind of scary -  I never know what to do with them.  I always buy them with good intentions, but they almost always sit on my counter for days until they eventually go bad.  But, because I am committed to trying new recipes and blogging about them, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a recipe.  A recipe that I have always wanted to try, but never got around to it - Eggplant Parmesan.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
2 large eggplants
2 cups tomato sauce (or more if you desire)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz (450 g) fresh mozzarella cheese

TOMATO SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 large can of stewed tomatoes
1 small can tomato puree
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp capers
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar

A half an hour before preparing the meal, cut the eggplant into 1 inch slices.  Cover each slice with a generous amount of salt, and place in a strainer over the sink.  This will allow the bitterness and excess water to drain out of the eggplant. It is surprising how much water will drain.  Let the eggplant sit for a 1/2 hour and then rinse and pat dry.

I decided to make my own sauce, as you are probably aware from previous posts, I hate pre-made pasta sauce in the can.  I put all of the tomato sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and blended.

Next, take the eggplant slices and dip into flour.  Fry the slices in canola oil over medium heat, 3 or so at a time, until golden brown on each side.

In a casserole dish, spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, followed by a layer of eggplant, fresh mozzarella slices, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Continue in the same manner until all the eggplant has been used.  The top layer should consist of Parmesan and mozzarella.  I also sprinkled some corn meal on the top for crunchiness (optional).

Bake in the oven at 350 ºF for 20 min and then turn the oven to broil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  



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