Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan - Ron Style

Eggplant Parmesan is just about my favorite dish of all time.  Here is my version (after many tries) that I find suites my taste of crispy eggplant that is not grease soaked and the tomatoey taste of fresh tomatoes.

In the past I've hesitated making Eggplant Parmesan because of all the preparation involved.  Salting the eggplant slices to draw out the so called "bitter" taste of the eggplant.  I don't know about you, but I like that "edgy" or "sharp" taste of eggplant.  To me that's what makes it eggplant.  Plus, when you salted the eggplant, you had to use paper towels to draw the excess water out.  That was just too much trouble for me to achieve what results?  Because the cookbook said it or some other cook didn't like the taste of eggplant? 

My recipe is much easier than the standard preparation of eggplant.  I just wash the eggplant, slice off the top, and then slice the eggplant into about 16 pieces. 

I prepare two bowls (or pie plates if you prefer) for dipping the eggplant slices into:

First - the egg mixture
Second - the Panko breaded mixture

Place all the breaded slices in a 21 x 13 x 1 1/2 tin foil pan which has been sprayed with olive oil and place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until eggplants slices are browned and tender.  You can turn over the eggplants slices once during the baking cycle if you prefer to achieve browning of both sides of the eggplant. 

Take out of the oven and top with the crushed tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and return to the oven and bak another 10 minutes until the cheese begins to brown on top.

Ron’s Eggplant Parmesan

1 ½ cups Panko Crispy Bread Crumbs-Italian Style (Progresso brand)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5 eggs
2 28 oz cans Chunky Crushed tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano (Furmano’s brand)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 large eggplant, about 1 ½ lbs cut into ½ inch slices (about 16 slices)

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees
2) Spray 21 X 13 X 1 1/12 aluminum pan with olive oil
3) In a large bowl, mix together Panko, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.
4) In another bowl beat the 5 eggs
5) Dip each slice of eggplant into egg mixture, then into Panko mixture, coating both sides
6) Place eggplant in prepared baking pan
7) Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, turning once, until brown and tender

After baking, take out of oven and spoon crush tomatoes over slices and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes until mozzarella cheese is browned.

Note: Do not cover pan or else the eggplant slices will get soggy. The individual eggplant patties freeze well. Place in separate Zip-Loc bags. Leftover eggplant patties that are not frozen also reheat well in the microwave. Enjoy!

Note:  when reheating in microwave, can top with a tomato sauce.  This will not make the eggplant patty soggy reheated this way.

Serve with oven baked potatoe slices (recipe below)

5 large baking potatoes
olive oil to coat baking pan
garlic sea salt (fresh ground)
garlic pepper (fresh ground)

1) Scrub the potatoes with a potato scrub brush
2) Dry with paper towels
3) Slice potatoes on cutting board in broad slices to suite your taste
4) Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl (the larger the better)
5) Drizzle the olive oil over all and mix with spoon
6) Dump the potatoes into a 21 x 13 x 1 1/2 pan
7) Arrange the potatoes flesh side up
8) Grind the garlic salt and garlic pepper evenly over all
9) Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the flesh of the potatoes is browned
10) Take out of the oven and eat immediately.  Delicious!

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