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Eggplant Parmesan

December 17, 2008

I have a bunch of cooking to do for potlucks, my boss’ birthday and not to mention Christmas, but I’ve been craving Eggplant Parmesan and needed some lunches for work, so I made this quick version last night.  This is a really simplified version you serve over pasta- no baking involved.  And you can use jarred marinara sauce instead of making your own.  Its kind of Sandra Lee semi-homemade, but without the coordinated outfits and kitchen.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

2 t salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 c Vigo seasoned bread crumbs

1/3 c all-purpose flour

4 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 jar of your favorite marinara (I use Barilla marinara)

1 box dried pasta, such as gemelli, penne or spaghetti

Parmesan for top

Directions:

Thinly slice eggplant into rounds 1/4″ thick.  Place rounds in a colander and sprinkle both sides with the 2 t of salt.  Let drain for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, get your sauce ready and your pasta water on to boil- cook the pasta while you’re frying the eggplant.  Also, prepare your assembly line for breading the eggplant: beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl large enough for the eggplant slices.  Place the flour on a small plate and spread evenly.  Place 1/2 c of the bread crumbs on a small plate and scatter evenly, and keep the remaining cup close by.

After 30 minutes of draining, pat each eggplant piece dry with a paper towel and press firmly to soak up extra moisture.  At this point you can either cut each round into 3 strips for more bite-sized pieces, or leave them in rounds.  Preheat a large non-stick skillet with 2 T of the oil over medium-low heat.  Take each round or piece and first dredge (coat) it in flour.  Then dip the floured eggplant into the beaten egg, then place it over the breadcrumbs and sprinkle more crumbs on top to get a good coating.  Repeat until you have enough to fill up a pan, adding more breadcrumbs to the plate as you run out (just add 1/2 c at a time to the plate so they don’t get soggy and clumpy with egg).  Dredging the eggplant in flour first helps the egg and breadcrumbs adhere better and your crust won’t slide off.

Put the breaded pieces in the hot skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side.  When nicely browned, flip the pieces over and cook for 3-4 more minutes until browned.  If needed, turn the heat down to low so you don’t burn the breading before the eggplant inside gets soft enough.  Remove eggplant from pan and keep warm.  While the first batch is cooking, coat the remaining eggplant and set aside until the pan is empty.  add the remaining 2 T olive oil to the pan and add the remaining eggplant slices when hot.  Cook 3-4 minute on each side.

To assemble the dish- layer pasta with sauce and arrange eggplant over the top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

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