Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Katie's first eggplant parm

Kenny knows how to cook. And he has been cooking for a long long time. Me on the other hand... not so much. I spent early adulthood eating Rice-A-Roni and microwavable burritos. The Italian in me is very ashamed to admit that this is my first time making eggplant parm. Kenny's not an eggplant person, so I alone was to bare the burden if I screwed this up. Luckily it turned out pretty good!

2 small eggplant
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 pint ricotta cheese
1 package Rice Shreds, mozzarella flavor
2 cups Tomato Garlic Sauce

Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle salt onto both sides of the eggplant and let drain for 30 minutes. Salting draws out water and helps collapse the air pockets in the eggplant's spongy flesh. This makes the eggplant much less able to soak up lots of oil during frying. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly to remove the salt.

The breadcrumbs I was using were already lightly salted so I just added black pepper and some herbes de provence that we had in the pantry. Bread in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Pan fry in small batches, flipping once so that each side is evenly browned. It should only take a minute or two on each side.

Assemble in layers in a casserole dish with the cheeses and tomato sauce. Bake at 350 degree for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is nicely melted.

This yielded 6 servings. I ate some for lunch yesterday and thought it was a little bland. I dumped some extra sauce on it today and that helped. Next time I'm going to bake the eggplant- I really don't need all that extra fat from frying. Also, I'll make the pasta sauce with Yves meatless ground, onion and more spice.

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