Search this blog


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eggplant Parmigiana with Panko

The scent of celebration is in the air, and though I am not hosting an official event tonight, I am hosting a personal one, for it´s often time for celebration in my heart no matter what is officially happening in the organized world.
For my own little special event, Eggplant has come out to play.  Its flirty little way of overindulging several of my senses made it quite appropriate.  Meals like this seem simple, but require preparation and planning.  The beauty of a well thought out meal is the ease with which you feel it run through your body, knocking at your soul, and making its way in...
Serves 4-6
2 medium eggplants cut into 1/4" slices (I used 2 eggplants and  completed with 1 large zucchini)
3 eggs well beaten
few cracks black pepper
about 2 cups panko
about 1 cup flour
some EVOO for drizzling
fresh sliced mozzarella (I completed with goat feta)
handful chopped basil
about 1 cup grated parmesan
few dashes red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large chopped onion
pinch of salt
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 Tbsp dried thyme
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 handful freshly chopped basil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cracked black pepper

Prepare the eggplant:
1.  Sprinkle salt over the slices and let sit for at least 20 minutes.  They will sweat.  Rinse them well and pat dry.  While waiting, make the sauce.
2.  Get your breading ingredients ready.  Beat some black pepper into the eggs.  Prepare a dish with the flour, and another with the panko crumbs.  Brush some olive oil onto some parchment paper in an oven tray.
3.  Coat each eggplant slice with flour, then dip into the egg, remove and let as much egg drip off as possible, then press into the panko, making sure to cover each side of the slice.  Place onto the oiled oven tray and repeat with each slice.  When the oven tray is full, drizzle a bit of EVOO over the slices
and bake at 245°C 475°F for 20 minutes, flipping once.
You may have to work in batches depending on the number of trays or oven space you have.  When the slices are done, set aside.

Make the sauce:
1.  Heat some EVOO in a heavy based pan.  Sweat the onions with a pinch of salt.  Cook until translucent.
2.  Add the garlic, carrots, and thyme.  Cook, stirring for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and water.
3.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  The sauce should thicken and reduce a bit.  Add the vinegar, basil, and pepper and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

In an oven proof dish, lay the largest slices at the bottom.
Spoon some sauce over the slices
Add the mozzarella slices
And the basil
Sprinkle some of the parmesan
Repeat.  I ended up with 3 layers.
At the last layer, top with some red pepper flakes.
Bake at 180°C 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the tops are golden.

I served over some hot al dente linguine tossed with black pepper and olive oil.
This was a brilliant meal.  Although the panko isn't authentic Italian, it helps give that "fried crunchy" impression without any frying, and I certainly did not miss that heavy frying part in this assembly.
Panko and I are going to be good friends... I can feel it...

I had a whole other dish going on with zucchini.  On that assembly I used goat feta instead of mozzarella and it gives the dish a completely different outcome that is equally delicious and a bit surprising, since you aren't really expecting to taste zucchini and feta in a parmigiana.
I also ran short of sauce, so I added a sliced green tomato on that last layer.  Man those things are juicy!  I'll be communicating more on those soon.
I don't follow the rules, and I'm fine with that...
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment