I adore eggplant parmesan! But…I’ve made some good ones and some great ones, and I’m still searching for THE recipe that will take me back to Italy. I stumbled across this recipe from Elizabeth Minchilli, who I have followed for years. She is an American married to an Italian living in Italy, and has written several books and writes a great blog on Italy. Since it was October and the weather was turning a bit cooler, I decided to give this dish a whirl. Boy am I glad I did! Add a salad (and some crusty bread if you like) and you’re set!
(Adapted from Elizabeth Minchilli)
3 pounds eggplant
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 half onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
4 cups tomato puree
1 12 cups grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil if you have it. If not, dried oregano
olive oil (about a cup)
4 individual baking serving dishes, about 5 inch diameter (or just use a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish)
Slice the stems off of the eggplants, and then slice into half inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and let them purge their bitter juices. After about an hour you will see droplets of water. Using paper towels blot dry.
While the eggplants are purging, make your sauce. Put 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a pot. Add onion and cook till soft, about 8 minutes.
Add garlic and let cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, ½ tsp salt, basil (or oregano) stir and let simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick, so add a bit of water if you need too. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Lightly coat the eggplant slices with olive oil.
Now you have to cook your eggplant. I do this various ways depending on how I feel. The greatest way it to cook them over coals, so if you have a grill going this is fantastic. If not, you can always cook them under the broiler (be careful not to let them burn, and flip them half way, after about 5 minutes) or else you can just pan fry them in about a half inch of olive oil. This last method is the richest. I broiled mine.
To assemble your dish:
Coat each dish with olive oil.
First is a layer of eggplant.
Next a layer of grated mozzarella. Then a layer of grated parmesan.
Then a layer of tomato sauce. Repeat this 1 or 2 more times – depending on how large your container is and how much eggplant you have.
Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes, until it is bubbly and the cheese on top has started to brown.
To serve: it’s usually best if you let the dish cool off at least a bit, so the mozzarella has time to firm up a bit. About 10 to 15 minutes.
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium head romaine, chopped (4 to 6 cups)
1 seedless hothouse cucumber, diced (3 1/2 cups)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (1 3/4 cups)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and finely chopped (1 cup)
3 carrots, finely chopped (1 3/4 cups)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
Then add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well.
Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl (I left off celery and red onion since my husband hates them!).
Pour dressing over. Season salad with salt and pepper and serve!
***Serve with your favorite red wine. Here’s mine: