Monday, September 16, 2013

Eggplant Parmigiana

Fruits and vegies from SLO Veg are just so beautiful!
I have all the makings for Eggplant Parmigiana, and I can use the eggplant that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago. Well, sort of everything...I really don't have any shredded mozzarella cheese, but I do have mozzarella sticks. It's five days until payday and I don't want to make any trips to the grocery store if I can help it. I will cut those cheese sticks into little pieces and place them on top of each eggplant slice to melt down when I bake it. I had originally planned to use Mario Batali's recipe, but I noticed he didn't coat his eggplant in bread crumbs, and I think they will taste better with a crumb coating. So I decided to go with this other recipe from Allrecipes.
Here is Mario's recipe if you want to compare:

The breadcrumbs I used today were some leftover rye bread that I had tossed into a bag and put in the freezer a few weeks ago. I know, not at all Italian, but I happen to love rye bread and thought it would be interesting. I defrosted the bread and crumbled it in the blender. Then I lightly toasted the breadcrumbs before coating the eggplant with them. A teaspoon of Italian seasoning plus some garlic, salt and pepper goes into the crumbs, then I coat the eggplant in a beaten egg mixture and dip it into the breadcrumbs. The eggplant slices get baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I didn't take any pictures of those steps...hummm. Slipping!

Oh well! Next I prepare my baking dish, which has a coating of olive oil followed by a half cup or so of pasta sauce. I went cheap here and used a can of Hunt's tomato sauce. I don't have enough fresh tomatoes on hand to make my own sauce today and I am trying to stay out of the grocery store, as I mentioned before. I use this tomato sauce all the time and the guys eat it, so? I usually add diced tomatoes to it to make it chunkier, but today I need a smooth sauce. About the only truly homemade tomato sauce I make is the fresh, uncooked one with almonds in it: Pesto al la Trapanese. I thought I had blogged about it before, but if I did, I can't find it. I will put that one on the list, because its soooooo awesome! I do like to try other sauces that come in glass mason jars, partly because they taste fresher than canned and partly because the guys use the jars for water glasses. They are sturdy and if they break a jar, its not like they ruined a set of glassware, now is it? When the grocery store runs a sale on that stuff, I stock up! Barilla pasta sauce, 3 for $5. I can barely buy canning jars for that price.

I layered the breaded and baked eggplant slice in the casserole and topped it with the rest of the can of tomato sauce, sprinkled on a generous layer of parmesan cheese and cubes of mozzarella string cheese. A little more basil flakes will go on top and into the oven it will go tonight for our dinner. It will need to reheat and bake for about 30 minutes, I am guessing.

I spent the morning cleaning my living room before I starting baking, but now I am going to some appointments and when I get home dinner will be ready to bake. That makes my evening easier and I will actually get to sit down with my hub and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I love my days off at home!

*Cook's note: This was not our favorite dinner ever. The eggplant was still a weird consistency.We had to cut with a knife. We decided the best use of our next eggplant would be roasted and pureed into Baba Ghanoush.

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