Eggplant Parmesan can be…..
…..done a few different ways resulting in various levels of time needed and mess made.
A long time ago I was working as a grunt in an Italian restaurant and meet this cook named Sal. He was always complaining about the Italian food here in America and how so much of it wasn’t the “real thing”. On the subject of eggplant parmesan, or as Sal called it “parmigiana di melanzane” .
He said, “Real Italian cooks bake the eggplant for parmigiana not fry it.”
At the time I just wrote it off as another one of his rants.
Then, years later, I saw Mario Batelli do it this way on his television show. So I had to try it and it is now the way that I do it all the time.
Quicker, less mess and just the right texture. Not crunchy and not mushy.
Set the oven at 400°F/205C. If you are not using a nonstick cookie sheet then line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray or wipe it with olive oil.
Cut the ends off of the eggplant and peel them. Some cooks leave the skin on but we don’t like the taste of the skin. Then slice into about 1/2 inch thick slices.
Using a little more than your gut tells you to, salt and pepper both sides of the eggplant slices and lay them out in the cookie sheet.
About 8 minutes or until slightly browned a little and just starting to get soft. The time will vary with different eggplants do to how ripe they might be.
BTW – when you are picking out your eggplant get the ones with the the least – or hopefully none – skin blemishes and lightest in weight.
Lightly cover half of the slices with tomato sauce – you could use fresh or canned tomatoes in a pinch – and top with the mozzarella. Lay the naked slices on top of the well dressed slices and this time after the mozzarella sprinkle some dried basil and grated parmesan cheese. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.
In the resulting bare spot in the pan spread out your veggie of choice for today. Broccoli or string beans will work. We like asparagus for this.
Give the asparagus the same tomato sauce, cheese, basil and olive oil topping that you gave the top eggplant layer. Into the oven for for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is done the way that YOU like it.
Then buon appetito!! Enjoy your No Fry Eggplant Parmesan.
Chianti of course!!