We have a lot of the following items in our kitchen: eggplant, tomato sauce, basil, and shredded mozzarella. The tomato sauce and mozzarella are because of the whole wheat pita pizzas I make for Gabbie for lunch on a regular basis. Both items were on sale last week, and since I use them regularly, I stocked up. The eggplant and basil are from the CSA, and when I say I have a lot, I mean it. I’ve been using basil for a couple of weeks now (I keep it fresh by keeping it in a vase with water that I change out every couple of days) and I still have enough left that I can make a big batch of pesto. I also have (well, now, had) 3 large eggplants. I used one in oven-roasted ratatouille (I’ll share that recipe later on this week), and one for this dish. I looked at a about 5 recipes for eggplant parmesan, but then basically made up my own recipe based on methods from those recipes and the ingredients and the amount of time I had to use. It turned out delicious, if I do say so myself. We served this with extra sauce and tortellini, and everyone but my sister had second helpings. Her excuse is that she doesn’t like eggplant, but it was so disguised in this dish I’m not sure that excuse is valid. I’ll be making this again soon (especially since I still have one more eggplant).
1 large eggplant, peeled if it feels less than firm, sliced into slices of equal width (I promise you want them as similar as possible, or you’ll get some crunch slices, and some mushy slices)
1 egg, beaten
1 c. panko, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 c. mozzarella
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1. Have beaten egg in a bowl large enough to dip in the eggplant, and the seasoned panko in another similar bowl. Dip the eggplant in the egg to coat, and let excess drip off. Place in panko and press down to attach crumbs, flip and coat the other side. Place on a plate, and repeat until all eggplant is coated in panko.
2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet until it is very hot (a piece of panko dropped in should instantly sizzle). Place several slices of eggplant into the pan, but do not crowd them. You will have to cook the eggplant in several batches. When brown, flip to brown on other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat this process until all eggplant have been cooked.
3. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of a casserole pan. Lay in a single layer of eggplant. Top with more sauce, some torn basil leaves, and a nice layer of mozzarella. Repeat layers until all eggplant have been added. (I had about 3 layers in an 8x8 pyrex pan.) Bake at 350 until it is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly (about 7 to 10 minutes).
4. Serve with pasta or bread and extra sauce. Enjoy!