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The 2 Lives of Eggplant Parmesan

January 25, 2010

First of all, thank you so much for all of your sweet comments to my confession.  You like me, you really like me!

I’m glad to know that I don’t need to have a format, or a set amount of things I should write about, and that it’s OK to just write whatever floats my boat that day, which I plan to keep doing!

When I was younger I really loved chicken parmesan.  We ate it all the time for some reason (the checkout people at the grocery store would frequently ask my Jewish mother if she was Italian b/c she bought so much Italian food!).  As I got older, and became pescatarian, and started keeping kosher, chicken parm. wasn’t so much in my life anymore.  So I turned to eggplant parmesan for that same craving, sans meat.

A lot of restaurants that served eggplant parm. make it fried, which isn’t exactly my favorite thing in the world.  I still get it from time to time, because my mom has always said that you can judge an Italian restaurant by their eggplant parm., and that stuck with me.  A few weeks ago, when I was at my parents house, Solomon and my dad wanted chicken parm, so I decided to make my own, healthier eggplant parm from scratch.

I’ve made it twice more since, and had one fail (I forgot the breadcrumbs!), but think this is really a great substitution, and so yummy.  I love breaded and fried eggplant, but this is really comparable.  It takes a fair amount of time, but is totally worth it.

We knew that we needed a way to make breadcrumbs stick to the eggplant, but didn’t want to do the whole egg/flour/breadcrumb method, even though we knew we weren’t going to fry our eggplant.  Instead, we cut 2 eggplants into rounds  and spread them out on a baking sheet.  Drizzle some olive oil and pepper on top (no salt, it sucks out the moisture!) and put into a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes.  Turn the eggplant over and repeat on the other side.

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Transfer the eggplant to a casserole dish, and sprinkle breadcrumbs all over the top.  Last time I made it, I used homemade breadcrumbs, from my whole wheat egg bread.  Since I was using plain breadcrumbs, I also sprinkled a few handfuls of Italian seasoning on top.  I could have used a whole bunch of different spices, but this just seemed a whole lot easier!
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I didn’t bother to bake this before doing the rest, I didn’t think it really mattered!  So I covered my eggplant with a ton of lazy girl’s tomato sauce.  Not only does this add a lot of flavor and SPICE to the dish, but it also gives it a lot of texture, which I love!

While the eggplant was cooking away, I cut up a whole block of low moisture, part skim mozzarella.  I cut it up into all different rectangles, squares, etc., just to get it cut!  I probably could have bought a bag of shredded cheese, but there’s something I really love about a block of mozzarella.  All of the cheese went on top of the eggplant, and I pretty much managed to cover every inch!
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I covered the whole casserole dish with tin foil, and put it in a 350° oven for 20 minutes.  Then I took the aluminum foil off and cooked it another 5.  I think next time, I might cook it even longer, since I love really crispy cheese on top!  Nothing my crème brûlée torch couldn’t fix though!  I totally failed to get a cooked picture of it.  Oh well, you all know what eggplant parm looks like!  It tasted so good too!

The second time I made this not only did I forget the breadcrumbs, I also didn’t have enough cheese, so I had to use string cheese too!  I think the third time around, I got it perfect!  Maybe it was the breadcrumbs?

Then, because I didn’t want anything to go to waste this last time, instead of just eating the eggplant parm as leftovers, I made some pizza dough, and put it all on top of a pizza, with some fresh basil and a little leftover chopped tomato.

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Holy cow!  One of the best pizzas EVER!  Solomon and Marlene (my mother in law) kept saying it too.  I love eggplant on pizza.  It’s incredible!

What’s your staple item when you get Italian food?  Or do you always like to try something different?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2010 7:08 am

    This looks absolutely amazing – I am drooling over all of that cheese!

  2. January 25, 2010 8:19 am

    the pizza looks really good! I would never have thought of that.

  3. eaternotarunner permalink
    January 25, 2010 9:09 am

    Eggplant on pizza is my favorite! That looks awesome!

  4. January 25, 2010 10:01 am

    That looks awesome. I’m totally going to try this… cheese is the most amazing thing on the planet.

  5. January 25, 2010 10:09 am

    I love egg parm. I have an eggplant in the fridge so if I can find enough cheese I may make some tonight. That is prob my fave dish for Italian, but I also like capellini pomodoro.

  6. January 25, 2010 10:11 am

    i get different things. my fiance gets spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parm. NOTHING ELSE.

  7. January 25, 2010 10:19 am

    ooh i have eggplant at home, i am totally gonna try this. ill probably use italian seasoned breadcrumbs since i dont have any regular ones. ill let you know how it turns out.

  8. January 25, 2010 11:40 am

    Looks great! It is cute that your mom said you can always judge an Italian restaurant by their eggplant parm. I have always felt that way about tomato sauce. Bad red sauce = bad restaurant 🙂

  9. January 25, 2010 12:32 pm

    Eggplant parm is my weakness. My mom at least bakes it now which is a better and not so greasy.
    I love most Italian food but for me a pasta dish is super easy.
    I love your pizza idea..I’m drooling right now. haha.

  10. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) permalink
    January 25, 2010 7:29 pm

    i LOVE eggplant! & that pizza looks so so good 🙂 idon’t really ahve a staple italian dish, but my boyfriend is a sucker for the typical spaghetti and meatballs- it is so cute!!!


  11. January 25, 2010 7:46 pm

    that pizza looks redonk

  12. greensandjeans permalink
    January 25, 2010 7:58 pm

    I wish I liked eggplant! It is the one vegetable that I just cannot do, no matter how hard I try! I give it a shot about every 6 months and I have yet to make peace with it!

  13. January 25, 2010 8:35 pm

    I am only starting to like eggplant. Something about the texture gets me. If it’s really cheesy, I can make an exception!

    I like when Italian places have mussels. That’s my favorite.

  14. January 25, 2010 11:39 pm

    I love eggplant parmesan – I’ve bookmarked your recipe so I can try it. It’s quite different from how I prepare my eggplant for eggplant parmesan so I’m interested to try the different technique – I go with really thin slices and letting them sit and salt to draw out moisture for awhile first before quickly grilling them to crisp them up.

    I’m so glad you asked the favorite Italian dish question – it made me remember this place I used to love going to in San Diego – they had a fantastic broccoli pasta dish with pine nuts. They made their pasta and ravioli fresh. Ah… must go back there on my next trip. But yes… broccoli, pine nuts, some parmesan, all on top of fresh rotini.

  15. January 28, 2010 8:48 am

    Looks soo good!

  16. jocelynsteiber permalink
    January 28, 2010 10:32 pm

    That pizza looks amazing! I haven’t made or eaten pizza in over a year…I think it’s time to try and copy your recipe!

    Thanks : )




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