Eggplant Parmigiano

I’ve had a good taste for eggplant lately. Usually I’ll simply slice them, give them a little brush of olive oil, a shake of salt & pepper and cook them outdoors on the grill. Just top with some fresh-cut mozzarella cheese and let it melt, and we have a meal. However, eggplant parmigiano has been on my mind, and that was dinner for today. It’s very easy to make and has a delightful flavor.

 

Nothing else needed for this meal, well perhaps a nice slice of garlic bread on the side

The flavor was magnifico!

Let us begin:

I began by making a  Herbs de Provence  or Provencal mixture of dried herbs containing (1 Tbsp each)  rosemary, thyme, savory, fennel seeds, marjoram, basil and a pinch of sage. Personally I find sage to be quite strong with an over powering taste, so I used it sparingly. You could simply use a nice dry Italian seasoning , which essentially contains the same ingredients.

Look at those beauties! When choosing your eggplant, look for ones that are smooth, firm, and heavy,  that are nice and shiny with taut skin and no scarred or bruised skins. Preferably you want to use them right away as eggplants do not keep well for an extended period. Don’t purchase them if they are soft and dull as they will have a bitter taste. If you don’t use them right away, wrap loosely in paper towels, place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. In France and England our wonderfully deep purple-colored eggplants are known as aubergine, and as melanzana in Italy. I’m sure you’ve seen other varieties such as white eggplant, and the tiny purple eggplants.

Sliced in nice even pieces

Salted and placed on paper towels to drain some of the excess moisture. Do this especially if you’re going to fry them

Give a little brush with olive oil, and seasoned with the Herbs de Provence   I suggest that you do not oil them until all the slices are ready as eggplants have a great capacity for absorbing oil, as noted here by the discoloration. These were place in a preheated 450 degree oven and roasted for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until you see them begin to brown

 Lets begin by adding the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. I used a  roasted red bell pepper sauce. Bertolli is a great brand. However you can make your own tomato sauce as well. I sometimes do, but took the more convenient route this time around. Generally I’ll add the sauce to a small pot, and very gently heat it with the addition of a little sugar (or sugar substitute) to temper the acidity of the tomatoes. Of course, taste your sauce before-hand, as it might already be suitable to your palate

Next I added a little sauce over the eggplants, spreaded evenly with the back of  a spoon


On goes the mozzarella cheese. I would suggest using a fresh round of mozzarella, or a block. I prefer to grate it myself, however at this point I had to go with what was on hand, pre-shredded cheese  :/  *Note to self* Pick up mozzarella cheese on my next visit to the cheese room. Westborn Market, here I come!   www.westbornmarket.com

Freshly grated Parmesan

I roasted a red bell pepper over the flame on the stove, gave it a little chop and added it. I just love the smell and flavor of freshly roasted red bell pepper! At this point the process was repeated. Eggplant slices, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped red bell pepper, sauce — a few more times ending with the sauce on the top layer

Added a final layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs that were slightly moistened with a little extra virgin olive oil, and then added a fine chop of parsley. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes; remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes more

Out of the oven

Slice and serve hot. However it is very tasty cold as well

Eggplant Parmigiano

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. richardmcgary
    Jan 21, 2013 @ 09:52:37

    Looks delish!

    Reply

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