Wednesday, September 29, 2010

eggplant parm

we got some beautiful eggplants from last week's csa share. by now they were getting a tad bit squishy so i browsed tastespotting for some good eggplant recipes.

eggplant parmesan, of course! usually the eggplant is breaded and fried first but as the recipe i used points out, the eggplant acts as a sponge and absorbs tons of grease. instead, it says to grill the eggplant first to skip the fat-soaking step.
it also told me to peel them first. with these beautiful skins? no thanks. skipped that step and kept the purple stripes.

if you're wondering why it only looks about halfway baked compared to the intended results, that's because it is. one small problem: our floor's oven peaks at about 200 degrees, even when it's set at the highest temperature. oh yeah, and then after about half an hour, it turns off all together. all things considered, it didn't turn out so bad. still quite tasty, albeit a tad undercooked.
and if you're lucky enough to have a working oven, it should look more like this:
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan (from freshtart.net)
Serves 6

2 lbs. eggplant, trimmed, peeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 24-oz. can Italian whole tomatoes
12 fresh sage leaves
1/2 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat grill. Spread out 2 3-sheet sections of paper towels on the counter, layered on top of each other. Lay eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle both sides of the eggplant lightly with salt. Let sit for 30-60 minutes. (nicole: this will eliminate some of the eggplant's absorbency)

Meanwhile, set a a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, then garlic, and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add dried oregano and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Using your hands, crush tomatoes one at a time into the garlic. When all of the tomatoes are crushed, add the remaining tomato sauce from the can as well. Add 1 tsp. of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, then turn the heat down and simmer the sauce over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sage leaves in an even layer. Fry for about 30 seconds per side, turning with tongs, until lightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel, reserving oil.

Lay another two layers of paper towels over the eggplant and press firmly to absorb the eggplant liquid. Using the fried-sage oil, brush both sides of each eggplant slice with the oil, laying slices on a plate as you. Grill the olive oil slices for 3-4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and tender.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To assemble the dish, spoon about 1 c. of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 10-inch tart pan (enough to cover the bottom). Lay one layer eggplant slices in the sauce. Top slices with a bit more sauce, then sprinkle half of the cheeses over the eggplant. Distribute the sage leaves over the cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, more sauce, and the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and browning a bit in spots. Let rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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