Monday, August 3, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

The farm market had some gorgeous locally grown eggplants for 99 cents per lb. I love eggplant - I make it so many different ways but tonight I went with classic eggplant parm. Simple, delicious - Italian comfort food. I like to cook the eggplant in the oven - same great results with less oil and less mess. The eggplant can be cooked all at once and no messy stovetop! I also love this marinara recipe - so simple and so very good. No need to ever buy jarred marinara again. The sauce can be made ahead of time and freezes well.

For the eggplant:

1 eggplant peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
seasoned flour for dusting
1 egg whisked with a tbsp. of water
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a baking sheet or jelly roll pan and generously coat it with olive oil. Place the pan in the oven to heat the oil. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Next lightly dust the rounds with flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Next dip the eggplant into the egg wash mixture and finally coat with the seasoned bread crumbs. Remove the hot pan from the oven and add the eggplant in a single layer. Bake until crisp and lightly browned on the bottom. Flip the eggplant and return to the oven until the other side is browned as well. Remove from the oven and place the eggplant in a casserole dish, add marinara sauce and freshly sliced mozzarella cheese and return to the oven until the cheese has melted. Serve with marinara topped pasta and a green salad. Buon Appetito!

Marinara Sauce
Adapted from Rao's recipe

2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3tbs. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 leaves fresh basil, torn
pinch dried oregano

Place oil in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft - approx. 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until softed - about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the canned tomatoes and season to taste with kosher salt. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer until thick (about an hour). Stir in basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper.

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