Eggplant Parmesan-Vegetarian Delight
My family loves to have a meatless Monday meal and I strive bring them as many different vegetarian dishes as I can. One of our most favorites is Eggplant Parmesan which is terrific right out of the oven but can also taste wonderful on a sandwich the next day. I learned a few very simple tips which make my eggplant dish taste better than average if you don't mind my saying.
Tip #1 - Instead of buying your breadcrumbs in a container, consider making your own from day old bread and mixing in some Parmesan cheese for some extra goodness.
Tip #2 - After slicing your eggplant, lightly salt each side and set it aside for about 30 minutes, this will take away much of the bitterness that you often find in eggplant.
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 of a 16 ounce block of mozzarella cheese-thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Combine bread crumbs, oregano and basil in a shallow dish
- Dip each slice of eggplant in the bread crumbs coating both sides
- Using medium heat, cook the eggplant slices in a skillet with just a splash of oil for 2 minutes a side until light brown
- Place eggplant in a single layer in an ungreased baking dish-I use a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.
- In a small pan saute the garlic in a teaspoon of oil for 2 minutes-then add tomatoes, salt and pepper
- Cook until this mixture is thoroughly heated
- Pour the tomato mixture over the eggplant slices and top with mozzarella and sprinkle Parmesan over all
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving
Love this pan, it's heavy but makes a beautiful dish for eggplant or lasagna
Some Interesting Eggplant Facts
Eggplants are planted in most gardens as annuals but in fact they are a perennial vegetable. There are many different varieties of eggplant and they are now available at your grocery store year around. The very best eggplants come from August through October right from your local farmers market. Eggplants are in the same family as tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes which is the nightshade family of vegetables. Eggplants are loaded with vitamins and minerals and also has some antioxidants which are great for your health.
An interesting fact - Male eggplants are usually not as bitter as the females (bet you didn't know there were boy and girl eggplants). Females always have more seeds which gives the eggplant a slight bitter taste. How do you tell the girls from the boys? Check out the blossom scar on the bottom of the eggplant. If it's a long slit, it's a girl. If it's smaller and circular, it's a boy.
Some great vegetarian recipes in this book