Monday, June 29, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

On Saturday I went to the St. Pete Market with my mom. I picked up some gourmet pastas and fresh produce including a nice looking eggplant and decided to make eggplant parmesan for dinner. When picking out an eggplant it should be firm to the touch with a smooth exterior, no blemishes. I used my spinach and garlic fettuccine that I got at the market, but you could use any pasta with this. I kind of just threw this together, so I apologize for not providing any exact measurements. I served this with a quick Caesar salad.

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, sliced about a half an inch thick, figure two round slices per person (a small one will feed two and a large one will feed four)
kosher salt
2-3 eggs, beaten
Italian breadcrumbs
olive oil
Your favorite marinara sauce (half a jar to a full jar)
shredded mozzarella (a spoonful for each slice)
grated parmesan cheese (a spoonful for each slice)
pasta of your choice (1/2 lb. or 1/2 a box for 2 people, a full pound for 4 people)

After you slice the eggplant, lay out on a plate or in a dish and sprinkle some kosher salt on each slice. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. This brings the moisture out of the eggplant. It's actually pretty fascinating, you'll see beads of water form on the eggplant. After you let sit for 15 minutes, rinse off the salt and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Lay out the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Run the eggplant slices through the egg and then coat both sides with the breadcrumbs.

In a large, oven safe skillet heat a couple of tablepsoons of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook on both sides until golden brown, just a couple minutes per side. You may need to add more oil as you go. And depending on the size of your eggplant and how many slices it yields, you may to cook it all in two batches. Once the eggplant is cooked, top each slice with a little sauce and cheese. Put a little extra sauce around the pan as well. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted.

(You can either use the same skillet to bake the eggplant or if you need more room, place the eggplant in a larger baking dish.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, most likely 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, divide among the plates. Top with two slices of eggplant per person and spoon the extra sauce over the pasta. This is so filling you'll forget you not eating any meat.

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