Eggplant Parmesan “Melanzane alla Parmigiana”
I love making and eating Eggplant Parm. I started making this dish for my vegetarian friends. Usually I serve this dish with a homemade red sauce, but if you’re pressed for time just buy a jar. The star of this recipe is the Eggplant not the sauce. Also, we have served this at room temperature and it taste great. The secret to great Eggplant parm is to layer sliced Eggplant in a colander and sprinkle sea salt over each layer. Place a plate on top of last layer and set a weight on the plate (can goods work great). After ~ 30 min or so you will see juice running out the bottom and sides of the colander. I know a lot of cooks say you don’t need to do this step but I tried it both ways and it absolutely makes a difference. Remove the salt from each slice by wiping with a paper towel or just shake it off, try to get most off and place each slice on a paper towel and let dry. While the Eggplant dries set up the following stations, flour, egg wash, Italian bread crumbs (remember to season each station with salt, garlic salt, oregano, basil etc). In a medium sauce pot add about 3 inches of olive oil and heat to 350 deg F (always use a thermometer to make sure to maintain 350 deg F). Place eggplant in flour shake off excess and place in egg wash then in bread crumbs (shake off excess) and place on a rack, when all slices are coated you can start to cook. Place 4 or 5 slices in the hot olive oil don’t turn until the bottom is brown. Meanwhile, place paper towels on a rack, when the eggplant slice is brown on both sides place on the paper towel to drain, when cooled place in refrigerator. When you are ready to bake add enough red sauce to cover the bottom of a baking dish and begin adding slices. Add some sauce to cover each layer and sprinkle with course grated mozzarella and fine grated pecorino or any Italian cheese. Continue layering adding sauce and cheese on each layer. Cover the last layer with sliced mozzarella and bake at 350 deg F covered until the sauce starts to bubble. Bake uncovered the last few minutes to brown the cheese.
This is my base recipe, put your own touch on this wonderful Eggplant dish. Leave a comment below and tell us how you use Eggplant.
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