Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Eggplant Parmesan

First of all, apologies for my absence. Between an emergency and starting a new job, life has been hectic. Things are calming down a bit so I finally have some time to cook again. This last week we got two of the most beautiful eggplant I've ever seen. Unlike the large purple-black eggplant you see at a typical grocery stores, these were large but a much much lighter purple. They beckoned to me for a few days before I decided that eggplant Parmesan was the way to go.

I used Deborah Madison's recipe because her recipe is much lighter without the bread crumbs and loads of cheese that you find in a typical eggplant Parmesan recipe.

Makes 4 servings
Cooking time: 45 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes if not using garden fresh eggplant)

-2 medium eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
-Salt and freshly milled pepper
-Olive oil
-1 1/2 to 2 cups Fresh Tomato Sauce
-8 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
-4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly slice if fresh, grated otherwise
-1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

My modifications
Because I didn't want to have to prepare Fresh Tomato Sauce (another recipe in Madison's book) I used one can tomato sauce. Because her tomato sauce recipe calls for 3 tbsp fresh basil or marjoram and the canned tomato sauce I purchased did not have basil, I added an additional 4 leaves (chopped finely) to bring the basil leave total to 12. I also found that 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella was rather skimpy, so I tossed in another ounce or two.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 2-quart gratin dish.

Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/3 inch thick. Unless the eggplant is garden fresh, sprinkle it with salt and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour, then blot dry.

Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of each round with olive oil and broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat until browned (about 5 minutes on each side). Broil the second side until browned, then remove and season lightly with salt and pepper. Don't worry if the eggplant has a dry appearance.

Warm the tomato sauce with half the basil. Spread about a third of the sauce over the bottom of the dish, then make an overlapping layer of eggplant. Lay the mozzarella over the top, add the rest of the basil, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Add the rest of the eggplant, cover it with the remaining sauce. Bake in the middle of the oven until bubbling and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

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