Greetings, readers! I must apologize for taking last week off…I needed some time to settle into my new place and get my life in order. Thankfully, I had plenty of time to do that last week and I’ll be able to post some pictures of my new place tomorrow! It’s not totally finished, but it’s a start…
For now, I would like to share with you one of my new favorite recipes. For New Year’s 2011, my amazing boyfriend and I stayed in, cooked dinner, and watched some bad TV…it was perfect. I had mentioned to him a few years ago that I had never tried eggplant and I was looking for a recipe that would help me fall in love with this beautiful veggie. Being the food aficionado that he is, he suggested we cook up some eggplant Parmesan…and it won me over in no time. Granted it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but once in a while it just hits the spot.
- 2 medium eggplant (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
- Kosher salt, as needed, plus 1 tablespoon
- 5 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- All-purpose flour for dredging
- 6 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- Olive oil, as needed
- 2 jars marinara sauce
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, divided
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded
Arrange the eggplant slices on several baking sheets and sprinkle generously all over with kosher salt. Set aside to let the bitter juices weep from the eggplant, about 1 hour.
Transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink, and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer eggplant to a work surface and blot very dry with paper towels.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme, and season with pepper.
Place the flour in a medium lipped plate or bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Dredge an eggplant slice in the flour, then dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
In a large straight-sided skillet, pour the oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 400 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer. (The oil must be heated to 400 degrees F. so that the breaded eggplant, when added, will drop the temperature of the oil to the proper frying temperature of 375 degrees F.)
Working in small batches, fry the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush a 15 x 10- x 2-inch-baking dish with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1/3 of the marinara sauce and arrange half of the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with another 1/3 of the sauce. Scatter half of the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella over the sauced eggplant. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips.