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14.8.13

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

 
Over the years I tried out several eggplant parmesan recipes, but I was always disappointed. The flavours were too strong, it was runny and limp and the components remained disparate parts, failing to come together. Eventually I realized that the parts have to be delicious on their own, otherwise putting them together will not morph them into something wonderful. Salting the eggplant slices must be one of the most revolting things ever invented. That and commercial tomato sauce is always acidic.
 
So I decided to use breaded eggplants and a mild, freshly made tomato sauce. Breading and frying the eggplant slices gets rid of the bitterness and the breadcrumbs absorb all the superfluous fluid. Panco does not work here, you need plain breadcrumbs. Now for the sauce! Take the time and make a fresh tomato sauce. From start to finish, it took me 30 minutes to make the sauce. But boy was it ever worth it! This was the best eggplant parmesan I ever tasted! I promised a large pan of it to our son in law after they move into the new house. It will be a few days before they are settled and their kitchen is fully functional.
 
2 large, but young eggplants, sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup plain fine breadcrumbs
3/4 cup light olive oil
1 batch of Fresh Tomato Sauce [click on the link]
12 large slices of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
 
• Prepare the fresh tomato sauce and set it aside.
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Take a slice off the first eggplant lengthwise and turn the eggplant onto the cut side. This will stabilize the eggplant and will make it easy to slice. Repeat with the second eggplant.
• Do not salt the eggplants, salt will make them limp and breading them will be difficult.
• Next set out 3 shallow bowls side by side. Put flour into the first one, beaten egg into the second and breadcrumbs into the third bowl.
• One by one dip the eggplant slices into the flour, the beaten eggs and finally into the breadcrumbs.
• When all the eggplant slices are breaded, heat the oil and in 3 to 4 batches fry the breaded eggplant slices on medium heat until crispy and golden brown on one side. Now turn them over and fry the other sides golden brown.
• Place the fried eggplants on paper towel and sprinkle them with salt. Repeat with the remaining slices, and make sure not to crowd the fry pan.
• Line the bottom of a square casserole dish with a little tomato sauce.
• Arrange half of the eggplants on the top.
• Cover the eggplants with half of the sliced mozzarella and half of the shaved parmesan cheese.
• Spoon half of the remaining tomato sauce over the cheese layer.
• Arrange the remaining eggplant slices on the top.
• Spoon the remaining fresh tomato sauce over the eggplants.
• Finally place the remaining mozzarella and shaved parmesan on the top.
• Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the dish is heated through and the cheeses begin to brown.
• Remove dish from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
• This recipe will yield 4 regular and 2 large sized servings.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

16 comments:

  1. Now that does look like a wonderful fall meal (it's only about 14°C today). Home made tomato sauce always rocks, particularly when you have time to slow cook it. I often put my tomato sauce into the crock pot and let it simmer for 5-6 hours — the house always smells divine!
    Hope you are doing well and that your heathy eating is still paying off.

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    1. After the first 20 pounds I lost my weight stabilized, but luckily I haven’t gained back any. The summer has been very busy and challenging in many ways. I almost wish it was winter and I could pay attention to myself. I will be back to loosing again I just haven’t had the time to think. We have so much fruit and fresh vegetables now you would think it would be easier, but when you are not focused on the goal it just doesn’t happen. I still eat smart, and nothing processed. The baking I do, ‘other than my daily bread’ I sample in the morning, but I don’t eat the stuff. This eggplant parmesan too, I had very little of it.

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  2. Your Eggplant Parmesan looks delectable! I haven’t made Eggplant Parm in so long…you have inspired me!

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  3. Zsuzsa, this recipe looks absolutely delicious ~ I can't wait to give it a go! And the tomato sauce too, my mouth is watering at the thought! Bye for now Jane

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  4. I don't eat eggplant yet, though I'm going to try zucchini soon, but the dish looks appetizing enough that I'd try it. There are several intriguing eggplant recipes like this ie moussaka, that hope to attempt some day.

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    1. Maria this would work with zucchini too.

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  5. Zsuzsa, my compliments to your successful Eggplant Parmesan! I have often used carrots in my fresh tomato sauce to sweeten it up, and this way sugar is not needed. If the tomatoes are sweet enough I try to eliminate sugar. The Sicilian style is similar; they also add golden, or dark raisins to add more sweetness, and flavor.

    My daughter Lora has been buying the same delicate little eggplants, and just dicing them and sautéing them in the skillet...so good. I am now craving your delicious Eggplant Parmesan and will have to make it this weekend with the carrots in the sauce, as well...yumm!

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  6. Thank you Elisabeth! Yes indeed I try to sweeten the tomato sauce with the carrots and yes raisins would do the trick too. Mine still needed a smidge of sugar, but this is a matter of personal taste. I know my Italian in law adds tomato paste to his fresh tomato sauce. I find it a bit harsh myself but then I am not as much part of the tomato culture as he is. I am more of a paprika gal. Hey I think I may be developing a mild paprika allergy for my old age... I gave away my stash of hot paprika and use only sweet now. Sigh.

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  7. I have never tasted eggplant parmesan but I love eggplant in everything and this dish looks excellent too (there is also my beloved parmesan!). I actually never salt it and I suspect the recent varieties not requiring salting (it is never bitter!).

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    1. Sissi, salting or frying or precooking in general also removes the access water content. Raw eggplant would make the casserole a watery, soggy mess.

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  8. Zsuzsa, I'm back again...although I didn't hear from you for a while, I have been neglecting to comment on blogs for the last week and a half at least! Been so wrapped up worrying about my recent 'skin cancer' surgery; glad its all over now, and will be getting the next one, next month!...never ends, sigh!

    The Italian-American, and the Italian-Canadians have a tendency of over using tomato paste, which I do agree with you is a bit harsh (acidy to be perfectly honest) Although there are certain brands which are more natural would do the trick, I use crushed tomato sauce, or tomato puree in place of tomato paste to thicken my sauce, if needed! So sad about your paprika allergy, for the hot paprika...the hotter, the better, I say...but in your case its reverse now!

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    1. Let's talk soon dear Elisabeth.

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  9. WOW! Has it really been this long since I visited here?! Shame on me! We love eggplant parmesan but I don't make it that much because my recipe is so much more involved. I love yours! Now I need to go find some eggplant! Great recipe!

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    1. Thank you Peach Lady! Nice to see you :-)

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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