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Friday, September 27, 2013

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant was never on my culinary list of "things to cook" But as I was viewing photos from an article I just wrote for The Daily Meal regarding the meals they made at the Emmy after-parties, I was obsessed with an Elegant Italian Parmigiana di Melanzane, or for us simple cooks, Eggplant Parmesan.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daniels
These small dishes looked so elegant and I thought they could be simple enough to make. Though I could not find the recipe from the exclusive Los Angeles restaurant RivaBella, I scoured the internet and combined a few recipes that could be used for us simple minded cooks

I whipped up a homemade tomato sauce that was so sweet yet perfectly pungent. It paired well with the eggplant, while not overpowering it. You could really taste the freshness of the veggie. I used mozzarella and Parmesan and baked (I don't like the mess of frying) Many other recipes use grated fontina and Romano cheese in combination with the mozzarella while frying it before they place it in the oven.

I even added my first video! I had to take a video as the eggplant came out of the oven. The sound of bubbling cheese needs to be captured on video at all times! 

Here is the sauce recipe that I used, which is INSANE! Bottle any lefrover you may have and you can use it on any other Italian dishes you whip up in the near future. This eggplant recipe was crafted from Whole This is the recipe they have in the store at their buffet section. Its healthy, affordable and yummy! 

The Sauce:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices
6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole plum 
For the tomato sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. Set aside to cool.

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Whole Foods Baked Eggplant Parmesan:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (about eight)
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (sun-dried tomato or plain)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil*
  • Tomato Sauce (recipe above) 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese*
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Eggplant Directions: 

Preheat oven with a baking sheet inside to 375°F. Coat eggplant slices with beaten egg, then bread with panko crumbs. Spread oil on hot baking sheet and place eggplant slices on it in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 10 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 475°F. In an 8 x 10-inch ovenproof dish, layer pasta sauce, then eggplant, and top with cheeses. Repeat, finishing with cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and turns golden in spots, about 15 minutes

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