Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

The only eggplant I could find in town was Japanese eggplant. Turned out great!

Let's start with the marinara sauce in the eggplant parmigiana. It's delightful. Has a nice spice to it from the pepper. Quite spicy really. It made me hiccough (I love to spell things the old-fashioned way, none of this ‘hiccup’ business). I do that when I eat spicy things. Does that happen to anyone else? Unless I focus on very regular and mindful breathing, I always hiccough when I eat something spicy. What’s your hiccough cure? I heard holding a pencil in your mouth while drinking water does the trick. What the heck is that?! My old standard is plugging my ears while drinking.

Anyway, back to the marinara. Nothing like some hearty Italian old world red sauce. Your house will smell amazing. Red wine, garlic, rosemary, oh my! This sauce really makes the eggplant dish. Well, that and the cheese. And the eggplant. Ooh, I love eggplant. I caught onto it in college, and fried slices became a favorite snack. The eggplant in this recipe is breaded and fried. Actually it's sliced and sweated first. That’s right. You set the slices out and sprinkle them with salt.

After 30 minutes, or when tiny beads of water form on them, they’re ready to be coated in flour, dropped in egg, and sizzled in oil.

From right to left: coat eggplant in flour, dip in egg, and fry in oil

Layers of fried eggplant, sauce, and cheeses blend into the hot, comforting, and quite delicious vegetarian recipe. Bon app├ętit!

P.S. It's quite easy to make this ahead. For a Sunday night meal, I chipped away on the prep throughout the weekend. I knew I was going to ski on Sunday, and didn't want to have to spend long daylight hours in the kitchen. I started Friday night slicing and salting/sweating and making the marinara. Saturday morning I fried the slices. Come Sunday all that was left was layering and baking--mercifully so, as it was a blue bird day with temps above 50 degrees!

P.P.S. I didn't take any pictures of the marinara sauce. It's red. You can probably make it out in the photo of the baked dish above. That and a bottle of pinot noir, and the no-knead bread that's changed my life.

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