Last week, at our local Farmer’s Market I took a $20. I really didn’t have a plan, except to get some produce, and sip some coffee as I shopped. I would love to go all out and buy 4.99 organic strawberries and green peppers, BUT my pocket book limits me, for the time being. Coming from Iowa, however, I do know how important it is to support our local farmers. So, I came away with some scones from a local bakery (I won’t be buying those again-Starbucks are better), some squash (YUM! Vine borrors demolished my crop last year, so I’ve given up-for now), and an eggplant (which was only one dollar).
I used to make this tasty eggplant casserole with ricotta, marinara, and mozzarella in college (recipe compliments of my fabulous aunt Mary) which was always a hit with the roommates. And ,once I made an eggplant manicotti, which was delicious but apparently too complicated for me to try again. I, had, however, never tackled Eggplant Parmesan.
So, I drug out my favorite cook book, Better Homes and Gardens (Pink Edition) and searched the index for Eggplant. Seeing as 1. I’m not Italian, 2. This cookbook is not written by Italians, and 3. I used Prego, I’m not tauting the authenticity of this Eggplant Parmesan, but my Texan husband and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Here it is:
1 Tablespoon of water
1 Cup of Flour (or however much you need)
2 or 3 Cups of mozzarella cheese
1 Cup of Parmesan cheese
1 Bottle of your favorite marinara or 2 cups of your favorite marinara recipe
some olive oil
1. Whisk together the egg with 1 Tbsp of water.
2. Wash and peel the eggplant and cut it into 1 inch slices.
3. Heat up some oil in a large skillet.
4. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture coating them thoroughly, and then dip them in the flour, doing the same.
5. Place them in the oil and cook them for 4-6 minutes or until they are golden brown (turning once).
6. Drain the cooked eggplant on a paper towel.
7. In a casserole dish layer eggplant, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, add marinara, and top with mozzarella.
Bake at 400 for 10-14 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with Spaghetti and a fresh spinach salad and bread if you want carb overload!
Some final words and possible amendments…
I grew up in a non-frying household and I’m terrified of the idea of grease fires, so I don’t fry stuff. I used Olive oil and sort of sauteed the eggplant. The next time I make this, I’ll probably have my husband fry the eggplant in canola oil.
The measurements I give for stuff are for people that like measurements. I’ve gotten to a place in my cooking (thanks to my adventurous husband) where I like to cook to taste. If you are like me and you feel the freedom to do so, dump as much cheese and sauce on top of the eggplant as you want. In my opinion, the more the better.
The next time I make this dish, I’ll use freshly shredded Parmesan and fresh mozzarella. I think it will make a huge difference. I had also intended to throw in a handful of fresh spinach, basil, and oregano somewhere in the mix, but got distracted (shocker!).
This is yet another meal that’s easy to split if your family is small or double if your family is large. I made one in a glass 8×8 casserole dish and one in an aluminum dish to go straight into the freezer.