August 12th, 2011

Meatless Monday: Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

4Recently my friends had a nice laugh at my expense because I have never had Chicken Parmesan. In my defense, I don’t come from a city with a lot of local Italian restaurants. And even since moving up north, ordering what looks like a chicken strip (or its eggplant equivalent) with a drop of cheese and marinara on top instead of lobster ravioli or penne alla vodka seemed like a bad life decision.

So at the ripe old age of 2-, I have never had chicken parm. But faced with the challenge of an eggplant that needed to be used, I decided to make my own healthier version, using many of the same ingredients as the original. I think this recipe is delicious, and my boyfriend (who is a yankee has had chicken parm) agreed, giving it two very happy thumbs up. Note: There will be leftover scraps of tomato and roasted eggplant – check back next week to find out what I did with them.

This recipe was made with a medium eggplant and served about two people with six slices. It’s very simple – you need one mozzarella slice and one tomato slice per eggplant slice. I had to trim my tomato because the eggplant was small.

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Fresh Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant (1/2 inch slices – coat in salt and let them sit for 45 min – 1 hour, then wash and use as directed)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons Italian spice medley (or a mix of basil, oregano, and thyme)

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

6 ounces mozzarella (about 1 ounce per slice)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the eggplant as directed above. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, pressed or minced garlic, and spices. Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil mixture on both sides, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. While the eggplant is baking, slice tomatoes to match the size of the eggplant slices. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour the balsamic vinegar over top. Slice the mozzarella to approximately the same size as the tomato and eggplant. When the eggplant is done (it should just be starting to brown) remove from the oven and turn the oven up to Broil. Top each whole slice of eggplant with a slice of mozzarella, then a tomato. Sprinkle or shave Parmesan on top of each stack. Put back in the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and serve. This works as an appetizer, multiple slices as an entree, it even makes a great sandwich!

Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe? Please share it with us!

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