One of my promises when I started this thing was to share with you some of my adventures in the culinary arts.
Although art might be a bit strong a term for anything I create, since it is less likely to be featured in the Louvre than it is crammed into a 55 gallon drum and buried under a mountain somewhere in a tightly controlled government facility.
There are rare exceptions of course, such as my World Famous, (Not even a little) Award Winning (Not even once) Eggplant Parmesan. I’m fairly certain that the only reason eggplant even exists is so that it can be put into a parm to begin with. I’ve never once seen a recipe that included it in any other manner that didn’t beg the reaction of “Pass.”
Anyway. The recipe is pretty simple, and it turns out more than edible. Even I, my own worst critic beyond the stomachs of everyone who has been forced to eat my food- must admit that this one turns out really well. Probably because of its simplicity.
AD’s Not-Yet-Famous Breaded Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 or 3 good sized eggplants, ripe and ready to rock.
- 3 eggs, beaten into a bowl
- Italian style bread crumbs
- For two eggplants, 24oz pasta sauce of your choice. If more eggplant is used, use more sauce to suit.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese – Amount depends on taste. For the above two eggplant recipe, I used a full 1lb block that I shredded. (If you’re really lazy, you can buy it pre-shredded. It’ll taste the same, and I’m reasonably sure nobody will judge you for not loving your family enough to do it by hand.)
- Olive oil, plenty.
- Glass baking pan.
- The first part is preparing the eggplant. Peel and slice the fruit, or do as I do- slice it first and cut the skin off each medallion. It is quicker this way and less messy than peeling.
- Dip the slices into the beaten egg, then lift out and cover in breadcrumbs. I cheat like hell here. For an even coating of breadcrumbs, I use a tupperware container with a lid. I’ll place the egg-covered slices into the container, cover it, and shake. My mother used to do it all by hand and it took days. Use my way. You’ll thank me.
- Place a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan, and fry the breaded eggplant slices until they are soft. Continually add olive oil enough so that the slices don’t burn. If they singe a little, its no big deal. Near the end there’s always a few of them that are slightly blackened on me.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Pour a light layer of pasta sauce into the baking dish, and lay some of your larger (now cooked) eggplant slices in, as a base layer (yes, on top of the sauce.) Once you create a base layer of eggplant slices, add another layer of sauce, and a layer of shredded cheese. Now repeat. Add a second layer of eggplant slices, (typically the smaller ones) more sauce, then a ton of cheese. Seriously. To the point where you think you’ve added TOO much cheese. Once you get there, you’re about right.
- Cover the whole mess with aluminum foil, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Then UNCOVER the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese on top of the meal is completely melted.
And uh…that’s it. Oh, wait until it cools a bit before you serve. Serving molten cheese and eggplant to your guests and family is a poor way to endear yourself to them.
This recipe can be improved by swapping the eggplant slices for chicken breasts. The entire process stays the same, with the added step of throwing the meat into a bag and using a meat tenderizer (or hammer, whatever floats your boat) to flatten the breasts a bit before you bread them so they fry evenly in the pan, and stack better when you layer them in the baking dish.
Nobody has been killed eating this when I’ve made it, so I feel confident enough to tell you to “Enjoy!”