Monday, August 16, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is one of my old standby's. I usually make doubles batches of it and freeze it in portions. Keeps well up to a month or two if tightly sealed in the freezer. For those of you who really want meat in it, you can brown ground beef, pork or lamb and toss it in the marinara sauce before layering.

Eggplant Parmesan

Marinara Sauce- If using jarred sauce, read that label to make sure it's not loaded with added carbs!
1 large eggplant cut into slices crosswise about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick- extra salt for the eggplant
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash
3/4 cup of ground pecans ( you can use any nuts of your choice- I use pecans, since we have a tree and we shell in the fall and freeze in packages.) Note- you can omit the ground nuts entirely, if you want and just use the egg wash.

About 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese or other grated cheese of your choice
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (cottage cheese also works- not so authentic, though)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

First, slice the eggplant and salt liberally. Place in a colander in the sink and let sit for at least thirty minutes to remove a lot of moisture. Then rinse, dry with paper towels and lightly pepper and salt the slices.

Heat oil in a skillet. Dip eggplant in the egg wash and then into the ground nuts. Place in the skillet and brown each side till crisp- don't worry about getting this done- just want the crispy exterior. Drain on paper towels.

In a bowl, thoroughly mix cheeses, sour cream, egg, basil and a good sprinkle of pepper.

Use a 9 X 13 baking dish

Place a layer of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on the bottom. Add more marinara and then cheese mixture. More eggplant slices, more marinara and cheese mixture. Top with more grated parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes till brown and bubbly. Let rest for at least fifteen minutes before cutting into squares.

This recipe can be put together without the top layer of grated parmesan, tightly sealed and frozen for a month or so. Just take out and thaw, put the top parmesan on and bake.

Note- You can make a single portion by cutting down on amounts, if you live alone like I do.

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