Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eggplant Parm and Other Stuff

I love Eggplant Parmesan. So does Johnnycakes. It can be a little time consuming to make so we really don't prepare it that often. I think that makes it extra special.

Because we go such a long time between making it, we never really prepare it the same way twice. We definitely do a little head scratching and troubleshooting to remember why it was so good the time before. Somehow, the eggplant parm always turns out delicious!
First things First. I sliced the eggplant in thin round slices and sprinkled the disks with salt in order to "sweat" the eggplant. Apparently, this takes some of the bitter flavor out of the eggplant. The eggplant does truly "sweat" or at least it releases some sort of liquid through this process.

Then we blanched the notoriously tough eggplant in order to soften it before baking.

In the meantime, I chopped some vegetables that we had in the fridge, including onion and mushrooms. I wish I would have added carrots to sweeten the dish but I didn't think of it until afterwards.

Next, I tossed the blanched eggplant in seasoned breadcrumbs. Since the slices were already wet, I didn't need to use any egg, etc. for the bread crumbs to adhere to the egg plant.

At this point, I already started layering the ingredients into a large casserole dish. First, I coated the pan in extra virgin olive oil. Next, I added a thin layer of canned spaghetti sauce, followed by the onions and mushrooms. I began layering the breaded eggplant so that it covered the whole pan. We also decided to slice up some Aldi's sun-dried tomato chicken sausages for a little extra flavor and protein and add it to the dish.

Here's the best part; Johnnycakes started hand grating Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese on top of the layers. We finished up the layering by adding the remaining veggies and spaghetti sauce followed by MORE CHEESE!

We baked the eggplant parm for 40 minutes on 375 degrees. We knew to take the dish out because you could see the dish boiling from outside and the cheese was beginning to brown.

This was well worth the wait. I almost can't stop myself when I start to eat eggplant parm. Oddly enough, I usually don't like ordering eggplant parm in a restaurant because the eggplant is too fried. I think is why I enjoy baking the dish at home.

We topped the dish off with a side salad and a makeshift piece of garlic bread made from a leftover hamburger roll.

Now I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch and dinner tomorrow!

1 comment:

Kelly Mahoney said...

It looks great and the finaly plating is pretty.