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Jaime Oliver’s Eggplant Parmesan

August 4, 2009

I wish I took a picture of this right after it came out of the oven because it was beautiful.  The picture I managed to take after the

eggplant parmesan

eggplant parmesan

carnage is not so beautiful, but you get the point.  I made this Eggplant Parmesan last night from a Jaime Oliver recipe, deceptive in its simplicity.  There’s no messy coating the individual slices in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, no frying the eggplant, but so much flavor.  I think one of the secrets is grilling the eggplant so it becomes sweet, and really rich, tomato-y sauce with fresh basil.  I can’t recommend this recipe enough, especially if you’re not a huge eggplant fan- I think it will change your mind.  You can serve this over pasta, or as I did with a salad.  Serves 6.

Ingredients:

3 large, firm eggplants, sliced 1/4″ thick

1 T olive oil

1 t dried oregano

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 28 oz can whole peeled Italian plum tomatoes

1 small bunch fresh basil leaves, cut into thick slices

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c dried breadcrumbs

1 c freshly grated Parmesan

1 T fresh minced oregano, optional

1 c mozzarella, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9″ x 9″ glass or ceramic baking dish.

Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat.  Season eggplant slices with salt.  Spray pan with non-stick spray and arrange eggplant slices on pan in a single layer.  Cook on each side until grill marks appear and eggplant is tender, but still holds its shape, about 3-4 minutes for each side.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and dried oregano and cook, stirring to prevent burning, until garlic has a little color- about 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and break up the tomatoes with a spoon.  Simmer for 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in fresh basil and turn off heat.

When the eggplant and sauce are ready, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.  Place a single layer of eggplant slices on top, then sprinkle with a handful of Parmesan.  Continue to layer sauce, eggplant and Parmesan until the eggplant is used up (you’ll have about 8 layers of eggplant.  Pour remaining sauce over the top.  If using mozzarella, sprinkle over top of sauce.  Toss breadcrumbs with the fresh oregano, and sprinkle on top, then top with a little more Parmesan.  Bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.  Serve immediately with pasta, if desired.

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