August 5, 2007

When Life Hands You Eggplant....

make Eggplant Parmesan!

One of those famous, fabulous dishes I've never bothered making. Don't know why. Just haven't.
Well, after the lovely gift of eggplants from our neighbor last week I decided it was time to make Eggplant Parmesan. (this sounds oddly familiar to my making jam post-I guess I'm more likely to try new recipes when given gifts of produce. Go figure)

After perusing numerous recipes and getting advice from my "armchair chef" husband I finally settled on a recipe from Mark Strausman's wonderful book, The Campagna Table.

Some of my favorite recipes come from this beautifully photographed, inspired cookbook. His Eggplant Parmesan recipe turned out brilliantly!
My husband keeps asking when I'll make it again. Soon honey, soon.

There are two parts to this recipe, the sauce and the actual dish. I recommend making the sauce either while you're salting and frying the eggplant or a day or two ahead. It freezes perfectly and the recipe makes much more than you'll need.

Real Eggplant Parmesan
taken from The Campagna Table by Mark Strausman
makes 8 servings
  • 3 large eggplant (do not peel)
  • salt
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • all purpose flour, for dredging
  • 4 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
Cut off the top and bottom of each eggplant. Slice ½ inch thick and lay a single layer of slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt (about ¼ teaspoon per slice), then turn and salt the other side. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, putting a sheet of wax paper between each layer. Rest another baking sheet on the very top and weigh it down with full cans (or anything heavy). Set aside to drain for 2 to 4 hours. Rinse under running water and drain on paper towels.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 inches of oil until very hot but not smoking. Spread about ½ cup flour out on a plate. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge the eggplant slices on both sides in flour. Shake off any excess and immediately slip into the oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, arrange half of the eggplant slices in overlapping rows. Spread with half the tomato sauce and sprinkle with half the cheese, half the oregano and half the parsley. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Bake 40 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is golden.

Traditional Tomato Sauce
taken from The Campagna Table by Mark Strausman
makes enough sauce for about four pounds of pasta
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • Four 28 ounce cans milled or crushed Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • salt
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt to taste. Cover and bring to a simmer, then uncover and simmer gently about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce is done when it has a rich flavor but does not taste overcooked.

Notes: I didn't salt the eggplant as it had been picked the day before. I took the advice of Patricia Wells and Susan Herrmann-Loomis who both say it isn't necessary if the eggplant is garden fresh. Pin It


wcs said...

It goes without saying that EP is one of my favorite dishes. And we usually make a bunch of it this time of year and freeze it due to an abundance of eggplant from the garden.

Alas, we have some blossoms but as yet no fruit. I guess the freezer will get cleaned out this year.

Ken Broadhurst said...

For the last couple of years I've been making a lightened-up version, an eggplant and tomato gratin with mozzarella cheese. We think it's good. The recipe is here on my blog. Try it next time the neighbors bring over a load of aubergines.

Ken Broadhurst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hillary said...

I LOVE eggplant parmesan! I may have to add that to my list of last supper items... thanks for commenting on our post!

Loulou said...

I planted three eggplant pants and have 5 that are still quite small. I'm off to the market this morning ans plan on picking up some more while I'm there

that sounds great! I think I remember reading that on your blog but I'll have another look

merci for stopping by to say hello. I just discovered Chew on This and think it is a great read!

Hillary said...

Thank you Loulou. I hate to correct you, but it is Chew on That. Thanks for the compliment! You have a great blog as well!

Loulou said...

I added it to my links list and wrote it correctly this time! :)