It’s the start of a new week, friends. How are you going to crush your goals and live your dreams? Me? It’s taper week! I’m gonna run much less, sleep much more, and #eatallthefood in preparation for my half marathon coming up on Sunday.
Speaking of food, I’m happy to be linking up with Annmarie today for Meatless Monday, and I hope you’ll join us!
For years my husband has been telling me he’s allergic to eggplant. Now, up until September 2015, I had never had eggplant. I remember seeing it in the grocery as a little girl and asking my mom if we could get it, and really not having a clue what it was except that it looked weird as heck and was purple. Fast forward 30 years later, and here I am in the same predicament with my son only this time roles are reversed. He’s 6 now, but for the last three or so years, Boo has been asking if we can get eggplant at the grocery. I always said no because “daddy is allergic.” Boo would longingly gaze at the produce department as we made our way to the dairy section, yearning for an eggplant of his own.
Well. He got what he wished for with this year’s CSA. We have gotten eggplant not one, not two, but — so far — three weeks in a row! Upon receiving said eggplant, what did I do? I quickly decided we would have eggplant parmesan and my husband could have leftovers. Finally! After 30+ years of wanting to try eggplant myself and three years of Boo asking for eggplant, too — it was finally ours! And I must say, I made the most amazing eggplant parmesan in the world. I had no idea what to expect when I made it, but I did some research and made it just right.
I will warn you — if you’ve never made eggplant parmesan, it is somewhat labor intensive. You need to salt the eggplant to draw out any moisture, as well as bake it before assembling the dish. I advise you to read through the recipe prior to starting so you know what to expect. Believe me, this dish is well worth it. It’s very similar to making homemade lasagna but instead of noodles, you’re using eggplant. Enjoy!
- 2 eggplants, sliced 1/2″ thick
- kosher salt
- 1 1/2 C breadcrumbs
- 1 1/4 C parmesan cheese, divided
- 3/4 C flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
- 2 C shredded mozzarella
- Tomato Sauce — from scratch*
Slice the eggplants and lay on a baking sheet. Salt each eggplant round and leave for 1 hour. After 1 hour, blot the facing side up with a paper towel, flip, and salt the opposite side. Let sit for 1 hour. Come back and blot the side facing up.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place flour on a large kitchen plate. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. In a large, shallow bowl, mix breadcrumbs with 1/4 C of the parmesan cheese. From here, you will first coat the eggplant rounds in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally, dredge through the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.
Bake the eggplant rounds on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. Remove and let cool. Turn down the oven to 350˚F.
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 glass baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with 1/4-1/2 C of tomato sauce. Place one layer of eggplant on the bottom of the dish, about 4-5 rounds depending on the diameter of your eggplants. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of the eggplant, followed by 1/3 C of parmesan cheese. Place another layer of eggplant on top and spread 1/2 – 1 C of sauce on top. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan, and repeat this process until your ingredients are used up, or until the eggplant reaches the top of the pan (whichever comes first). Make sure to end the layering with sauce and cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 350˚F oven. Eggplant parmesan is done when the cheese is bubbly and parts are golden brown. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
*I have my tomato sauce listed as an ingredient here. You can certainly swap this out for store bought, but when I made this dish I made everything from scratch. It was a labor of love and certainly worth the effort, but it did take me a good part of the day. If you’re crunched for time and still want to make the sauce from scratch, you can always make the sauce ahead of time and use it within the following days. Just reheat it to room temperature before assembling the parmesan.
It turns out that I absolutely loved the eggplant parmesan and couldn’t get enough. Boo, on the other hand, really didn’t like it all that much. And when my husband arrived home, he loved the smell of it so took a bite and… of course, his mouth started itching right away. Not even 2 minutes later, Boo told me his mouth wouldn’t stop itching. My husband gave me the look. Like father, like son, and they’re both allergic to eggplant.
So? After waiting 30 years to try my beloved eggplant, I can officially say I tried it, I loved it, and I will never make it again. Lucky for me I made such a huge platter of eggplant parmesan that I froze some of it so I can make a quick lunch or dinner for myself and enjoy the
fruits veggies of my labor!
Have a great day, friends! We’ll chat more tomorrow.
Eggplants: yay or nay? Does anyone in your family have an eggplant or other food allergy?