As eggplants just begin to trickle into farmers markets around here, I got a hankering to start tinkering with my ongoing Eggplant Parmigiana recipe. I always change it a little every year, & always end up with a keeper. The only thing both husband & I agree on is that neither one of us cares for the breaded fried types.
Our local farmers market had a booth with some lovely early eggplants, & I scarfed two nice ones up, along with some nice early tomatoes, & developed the following. It was absolutely DELICIOUS, & I hope you enjoy it as well. Don't be scared off by the recipe length - it's really very very easy to throw together. I just tend to be verbose.
BREEZY EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
2 medium Italian eggplants (â€œBlack Beautyâ€, â€œCasperâ€, â€œRosa Biancoâ€, â€œBlushâ€ all work well)
2 large slicing tomatoes
1 large jar of your favorite pasta sauce (commercial or homemade)
1 block of firm mozzarella (like Polly-O or Sorrento)
Approx. 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
Dried Italian seasoning
Dried crushed red pepper flakes
Dried granulated garlic
McCormackâ€™s Monterey Grill Seasoning for Chicken
Preheat broiler. Rinse eggplant, trim off ends, & slice into approx. Â½â€-3/4â€ slices. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet & place eggplant slices in a single layer, just touching. You will probably have to do this in more than one batch, depending on the size of your eggplants. Pour some extra-virgin olive oil into a small bowl &, using a pastry brush, brush the top sides of the eggplant slices with it. Sprinkle all with the Italian seasong, red pepper flakes, garlic, & grill seasoning. Broil for approx. 5 minutes â€“ do not allow to burn. Remove pan, flip slices over & repeat oiling & seasoning. Broil 2nd side for another 5 minutes. Continue until all slices have been cooked, & then reduce oven to a 350-degree baking temp.
Meanwhile, with a sharp serrated bread knife, slice tomatoes thinly, & grate block of mozzarella.
In a baking dish (you can use any size all the ingredients will fit in â€“ I usually use a 10â€ x 10â€ x 6â€ deep ceramic or a 12â€ x 7â€ x 6â€ deep ceramic baking dish, but any baking dish large enough to hold everything will work) thinly spread a light layer of sauce. Add a single layer of eggplant slices â€“ just touching - & top with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Top with a sprinkling of grated mozzarella. Top with another light layer (approx. a tablespoon or so on each eggplant slice) of sauce, & continue layers, finishing with a final sprinkled layer of mozzarella topped with the cup of grated parmesan. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil & bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil & bake for 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven & allow to sit for approx. 15 minutes to settle.
We enjoy this with a small side of buttered pasta (like rotini), a green salad, & garlic bread (which we pop into the oven to heat after weâ€™ve removed the eggplant to â€œsettleâ€). The leftovers are terrific reheated in the microwave & served atop pasta or on Italian bread as Eggplant Parmigiana sub sandwiches.