November 11, 2008

Eggplant Parmesean

I put a whole chicken in the fridge to thaw yesterday morning, and it is still frozen rock solid. Yeesh. It has been over 24 hours and there is really no difference from when I pulled it from the freezer yesterday. That means I need to do some menu rearranging. I was counting on the chicken for dinner tonight and turning the extra parts into chicken stock for soup tomorrow. All that is going to need to be pushed back due to the cryogenic state of the chicken.

I am really not all that upset, since I have been dying to try this recipe. This dish is from my friend Claire, who belongs to a message board that put out a cookbook earlier this year. I was able to thumb through the cookbook at her house the other day, and all the recipes in it look super-yummy and family friendly. This recipe is from that cookbook. She posted this recipe on her blog a few months ago with some pictures. Oh man, this dish looked so good I wanted to lick my computer screen. Also, I am a sucker for Italian food...due to my Italian heritage and all.

Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick round slices
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Flour for dredging
6 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp whole milk
Olive oil, as needed
Tomato sauce (see recipe below)
Parmesan cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Place the flour in a plate or bowl. Add oregano and thyme. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Dredge an eggplant slice in the flour then dip it in the egg mixture. Shake off any excess egg and start frying. Turn the eggplant once, cooking until golden brown. It cooks very quickly so keep your eye on them. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. Preheat oven to 400. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with some tomato sauce and arrange the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with more sauce and scatter half of the Parmesan and 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.

Tomato Sauce

3 cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
Fresh basil

Mince the garlic and onion. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add cans of crushed tomatoes plus half a can of water and bring to a boil. When it's boiling, turn the heat way down and let it simmer. The longer you let it simmer, the better it will taste. For three cans, let simmer about 90 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. At the very end chop up some basil and stir it in (dried basil would work too).

The Result:
As usual, I am at a loss for a good adjective...but this was AWESOME! Totally fabulous. A little labor-intensive, but fan-freakin'-tastic. Cheesy, bubbly, saucy, goodness! YUM!
I stuck to the "eggplant" part of the recipe, but deviated from the "sauce" part. I added some dry Marsala wine to the cooking onions and garlic, then I added 1 can of tomato sauce and 2 cans of diced tomatoes. I added some additional spices, too; red pepper flakes, a little chili powder, salt, pepper, thyme, and Italian Seasoning. The sauce was closer to my normal marinara, and not the recipe version. What can I say, that is how we like it. After "ooohs" and "aaaahhhhs" from the husband, I made sure to point out that this was considered a vegetarian meal. Now, I think he will be open to try more vegetarian dishes. I will consider that a small personal victory.

This is a total keeper. Although, it will be one of those dishes that I only make when I am feeling like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. It really would suit a special night or weekend meal better. With all that cheese it is pretty decadent, so I think I will consider this recipe a once in awhile treat. Nonetheless, it was still great!

1 comment:

claireknightly said...

I'm so excited that I'm a tag on your blog!! I hope you guys enjoy it, we LOVED it!! It was definitely time consuming, though. I got the eggplant breaded and fried and the whole thing assembled while Will napped, then I just had to throw it in the oven.