Eggplant Parmesan

8 Mar

At the close of my Valentine’s Day post, I promised to share any lessons I had learned from this year’s holiday. I apologize for the delay, because I did learn a little something. Although our causal Valentine’s Day at home ultimately turned out great, it did have a rotting eggplant in the way of its perfection. That’s right, folks, I had Eggplant Parmesan on the menu for V-day, but when we started peeling it we knew something was not right. It was brown, juicy and soft. And those, I have since learned, are the signs that an eggplant has bought the farm. So, when buying eggplant, make sure the skin doesn’t have any light brown spots and that the berry (that’s right, it’s a berry!) is firm. And if you are going to have V-day at home, make sure you have a backup plan if your main dish rots so you don’t have to wander through a sad empty Kroger when your stomach is growling.

But despite that one mishap, Ike and I love Eggplant Parmesan. It is a hearty and delicious meatless meal that I whole-heartedly recommend. Oh, and I just happen to have step-by-step directions and photos below. You’re welcome.

Again, I want to give credit to the source of this delectable recipe. I got this little casserole book in my Christmas stocking and I have discovered some great dishes in here.

I also made my own marinara.  I’ve shared the recipe for that on my Homemade Pizza post. Scroll down to Phase II for the saucy details. But if you are stretched for time, or have a favorite jarred option, that will work just fine too.

Ok, now on to the action!

Phase I: The Prep Work.

Remember everything good in life is worth working for.

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Get out 3 shallow bowls. I usually use my round cake pans for such things, but just let loose and improvise with what you have.

3. Measure out ½ C flour in bowl #1.

4. Beat 2 eggs in bowl #2.

5. Combine 2 C dry bread crumbs, 1 T basil (or 1 tsp dried), 2 tsp oregano (or ½ tsp dried) and ½ tsp each salt and pepper in bowl #3. Is this starting to sound like a dating show to anyone else? Who votes for bowl #2? Ok, just me. Whatever.

6. Now, it is time to prepare the eggplant. Peel that thing and then slice it into ½ pieces.

7. Lightly grease a 9-in x 13-in pan. And you are officially down with all the prep work.  You may now take a 30 second dance break if desired.

Phase II Eggplant Assembly and Sauté Time

1. Heat (at least) 4 TB olive oil over medium heat. I’d add more or be prepared to add more as you go along. Your choice.

2. Now it’s time for the eggplant assembly line! You will repeat this process for each slice, so get ready to be an eggplant assembly line pro. First, coat a slice in flour.

3. Then, dip it in the egg bowl.

4. Then finally, coat it in the bread crumb mixture.

5. Now you can sauté the prepared slices. Each side should be golden brown.

6. Place cooked eggplant in prepared pan.

7. When you have repeated, and repeated and repeated this process until the pan is filled or your eggplant is gone, you are done with the eggplant assembly line!

Phase III Final Assembly and Baking

1. Top the cooked eggplant with 1 jar (or ½ of my marinara recipe) sauce and ½ C Parmesan. This recipe is no different than all the rest; please feel completely free to add a bit more cheese.

2. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Then, uncover and bake for another 5-ish minutes.

Now on to the final (and my favorite) phase – Enjoy!

1. It should look a little something like this and it should smell heavenly.

I prepared some noodles to go with it, but that is not necessary. Again, improvise with your heart and stomach on this one. Remember to check that eggplant when you buy it, and use it within a couple days of buying to be safe. Again, in my humble opinion, this recipe is too good to miss! I hope you enjoy it too!

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