Sunday, May 8, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

About a week ago, I posted my recipe for California Wedding Roasted Veggie and Smoked Cheese Lasagna. This Roasted Eggplant Parm recipe hits all the same notes as that lasagna--smoky, tomatoey, cheesy--while being much simpler to make. I made it last night for a dinner party--it was a crowd pleaser, and my vegetarian and gluten intolerant friends could eat it.


The tweaks:

Traditional eggplant parm requires so much futzing that the flavor of the eggplant gets completely overwhelmed. Most eggplant parm recipes call for salting and draining the eggplant for a while to draw out bitterness, and then breading and deep frying it. There's no need to salt and drain the eggplant for my recipe. Roasting eggplants naturally sweetens them and removes their bitterness. The slightly charred crust on the roasted eggplant has more flavor than any breaded and deep fried version. All that is needed to finish the dish is some simple marinara and a good bit of Italian cheese.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
3-4 eggplants
olive oil nonstick spray
Marinara sauce (stir together 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes, 1 T minced garlic, 1/2 t Italian seasoning, salt, black, and red pepper flakes to taste. Or if you want really simple, buy a couple of cans/jars of marinara.)
1 lb shredded low-fat mozzarella or Italian mixed cheeses

approximately 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 475. You will need two pans, one that is approximately 10x13, and another that is at least as big as that. You will need both of these pans to roast all the eggplant, but after it's roasted, you'll combine them into one 10x13 pan. Slice eggplant into one-inch rounds or planks. Spray pans and each side of eggplant liberally with olive oil spray. Salt both sides liberally. Cook until browned on both sides, about 30 minutes, flipping once. (Instead of flipping them these days, I just put one pan on the top oven rack and one near the bottom, then switch the pans halfway through.)


Lay one layer of roasted eggplant on the bottom of the 10x13 pan. Spoon sauce onto each round, add a healthy sprinkle of parm and half of the cheese, then repeat for a second layer if you still have eggplant left. Reduce oven to 375 and cook 15 minutes, until bubbling.

2 comments:

  1. I can vouch for this recipe. Even the leftovers were better than most things I cook! :P

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  2. I'm going to keep vouching for this recipe until I die an eggplant-induced death. I was lazy and used a jar of spaghetti sauce, thus making this one of the Top 5 Easiest Dishes to Cook Ever in the History of the World.
    Be sure to salt the eggplants like crazy -- you don't want to live until the apocalypse anyway.

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