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Food Recipes

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

I‘m gonna admit right off the bat that this recipe is NOT a one-pot recipe, nor is it a one-pan recipe, nor does it take less than 30 minutes…that being said, it’s not hard (I promise), ya just gotta plan ahead a bit and be OK with doin’ a few dishes afterward.

The recipe is really straightforward: you’ve got your eggplant, your sauce and your cheese. With a little bit of prep, all you need to do is stack ’em up and bake ’em and you’re good to go. I keep this recipe seriously simple: I use store-bought marinara sauce and store-bought bread crumbs, the only thing I spend any extra time on is the eggplant. Eggplant is a really great option for a main dish: it’s meaty, filling and healthy. Unfortunately, it’s a little bitter without some TLC. Before you actually use it in the recipe, you’ve gotta sweat it. Yep, eggplant can sweat. Basically, you slice it up, salt it and let it sit for about an hour before you cook with it. If you can plan ahead for that eggplant sweat-sesh, the rest of the recipe is a breeze.

eggplant parm 2.jpg

The flavors in this meal are classic and the textures are amazing: garlic and basil give this dish a traditional taste, and the blend of provolone and mozzarella cheeses give it that ooey-gooey vibe that’s just gotta be there for Italian food to seem right.

I absolutely love this dish, and if I have a few extra minutes, it’s definitely one of my favorite things to spend a bit of time preparing. It’s a total crowd-pleaser, too: it’s comforting, warm and gorgeous to look at, and I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with it. Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 eggplant (depending on size), sliced into 12 1/4 inch-thick slices {the recipe makes 6 stacks of eggplant parmesan with 2 slices of eggplant each}
1 15-oz container Italian-flavored bread crumbs
1 24-oz jar store-bought marinara sauce {I use a roasted garlic flavor}
3 eggs
1 package sliced provolone cheese
1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsbp store-bought Italian Seasoning
Handful fresh basil, chopped or torn
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prep Directions:

1-2 hours before it’s time to start cooking, salt the eggplant on both sides and sweat the eggplant by placing your colander in the sink or over a dishtowel and arranging the slices inside it as shown in the picture. Place a heavy bowl or dish on top of the slices and leave them alone for at least an hour.

After an hour, remove the eggplant slices and rinse them in cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Cooking Directions:

When it’s time to cook, preheat an oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare the dredge for the eggplant by whisking the eggs in a bowl and placing the bread crumbs in another bowl.

Dredge the eggplant slices in the egg first, followed by the bread crumbs. Make sure the crumbs stick to the eggplant slices and place the dredged slices on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, flip, and bake for another 5 minutes.

eggplant prep 3.jpg

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

When the eggplant has finished baking, assemble the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients in a 9×13 baking pan with deep sides:

◊ Take a few tablespoons of marinara sauce and coat the bottom of the dish and arrange half (6) of the eggplant slices on top of the sauce.
◊ Place a spoonful of the sauce over the top of each eggplant slice.
◊ Place a slice of provolone cheese over the sauce.
◊ Repeat with another layer of eggplant, sauce and cheese {this time using mozzarella instead of provolone}.

eggplant prep 4.jpg

Pour any remaining sauce in between the stacks of eggplant and sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the top of the dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The eggplant should be lightly browned and bubbly on top. Garnish with the fresh basil and salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve hot. Enjoy!

…………………………………………

Yield: 6 stacks of eggplant parmesan
Serving Size: 1 stack
Calories: approx. 490 calories per serving
Dietary Info: vegetarian

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