- Food and Cooking
Not quite Eggplant Parmesan recipe
Oh dear, we have no parmesan! But I want to make Eggplant Parmesan
I so wanted to make Eggplant Parmesan but there was one major problem. I didn't have any Parmesan cheese! Another concern was that I've always thought that the real thing (the way I make it, anyway) has a few too many calories than I like to serve and eat.
So this dish was a fake. But we enjoyed it so much that now it's regularly on our menu. These days, I do add a little Parmesan, but only a touch.
Many of the meals we have are a bit like those TV cooking shows where chefs are presented with some ingredients and have to concoct a delicious recipe using them. This recipe was the result of gazing into the fridge, examining the contents of the pantry and thinking 'OK, now what?'
It's healthier than the standard recipe because the eggplants aren't fried and it's also quicker and easier to make.
Slice and broil the eggplant
Pre-heat the broiler and slice the eggplant. Broil the eggplant on both sides for about five minutes. They should be slightly browned.
TO SALT OT NOT TO SALT?
Some people suggest that you sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and leave for a while to drain out some of the water. Sometimes I do, but if I'm in a hurry, I don't. For this dish, I've not noticed a difference although it does help in recipes where the eggplant is going to be fried. If you do, rinse the slices thoroughly afterwards and pat dry with paper towel.
Make a quick and easy tomato sauce
Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add sliced scallions and crushed garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the contents of a can of tomatoes, freshly-ground black pepper and chopped basil leaves. Simmer gently for four or five minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Pour the tomato sauce into a baking dish. The one I use is about 6 x 10 inches. (If you really want to save time you could use the tin of tomatoes as-is - but I like to add the extra flavor!)
The tomato sauce in the oven dish. There's no need to grease the dish, just pour the tomato sauce straight in.
Add the broiled eggplant
Layer the sliced, broiled eggplant on top of the tomato sauce. Press down slightly with a spatula, so that some of the tomato sauce comes through.
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the eggplant slices and put into the oven. Bake for about ten minutes or until you have made the topping.
Make the topping
Use a cheese grater to make breadcrumbs from the slice of bread. Add about a tablespoon Parmesan (if you have it!) Add black pepper, mix well. Remove the dish from the oven and add the topping. Put the dish back in the oven until the topping browns. (You might want to broil for the last few minutes to ensure a crunchy topping).
Add sliced black olives and chopped basil leaves to garnish.
Serve with baby salad leaves.
I am vegetarian mainly because I never liked meat. Even as a child, it wasn't something I enjoyed. It's only looking back that I remember that I was also the slimmest member of our family. Was this coincidence? I don't think it was. It certainly wasn't because I was more active. (I hated sport!)
When I was older and went to college I was in control of my own meals and even if I'd liked meat, I wouldn't have been able to afford it. Gradually, I came to realize that not eating meat was healthier too. In more recent years, we've all discovered that eating no (or less) meat is also healthier for the planet. Whatever your own reasons are for eating no meat - or cutting down - there are some great recipe books that will give you lots of information and wonderful meal ideas.
Here's my selection.
Buy eggplant treats
Eggplant, or aubergine as we called it in England, is much more versatile that I first realized. Look below - vegetarian eggplant 'caviar' even! We've tried all the eggplant treats you see below. The caviar and the bottled grilled eggplant are both marvelous to serve as an appetizer - even meat eaters love both. We both love mango chutney, so we had to try the eggplant version and it's so tasty served either with curry or with cheese and crackers (our favorite lunch). The tomato and eggplant sauce makes the list because its imported from Italy and made by an old-established company, using traditional methods and the best ingredients. I like to keep a jar in stock at all times because it's so easy to make a super-fast, authentic pasta dish using this sauce.
This is incredibly tasty and highly recommended.
More tasty recipe ideas
- Meat-free Recipes for One Month
Here's a wonderful collection of thirty meat free recipes - yes, one for every day of the month. All are easy to make and quick- they'll be on the dining table in no time.
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: Meat-free & Delicious
This is a wonderful recipe for meat-free stuffed cabbage. Unlike many similar recipes, it's quick to make, incredibly low in fats and calories, inexpensive and totally delicious. Try it soon.
- Mushroom Wellington - quick & easy vegetarian recipe
Make a quick and easy meat-free mushroom dish that is elegant enough for dinner parties but easy to make for a weekday family meal. This is implicity itself to prepare and totally delicious.
All photographs, with the exception of the eggplant image (from stock.xchng) taken by me during the preparation of this dish.