First, let me say that Dr O is not a fan of most chicken or eggplant parmesan dishes. He feels the breading gets too soggy in all of the tomato sauce and had thus written off the dish…until now. I bought a few small eggplants at the local farmer’s market last week and they were getting PRETTY ripe so it was time to use them! Being terrified of eating eggplant (remember I’m a notorious picky eater!), I wanted to try a dish that might mask the flavor, in case I didn’t like it. So, I looked online at
a few dozens of recipes. I used a bit from each one it seems and came up with the one below. It’s very light and SUPER DUPER delicious!
Here’s the rundown of ingredients:
eggplant (as little or as many as you like, I used 2 small)
flour (enough to lightly cover your eggplant slices)
egg and water
tomato sauce (as much or as little as you like…we’ll get to why later)
shredded Italian cheese (I used mozzarella and parmesan)
First, cut off the tip and bottom of the eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place your colander in the sink and put a layer of eggplant on the bottom. Pour salt onto the top of each piece–a very generous amount. Continue to layer eggplant and salt until you have no eggplant left and let it sit in the sink for 30 minutes. There seemed to be a lot of varying opinions to salting eggplant. I read on this site: http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2008/08/salting-eggplant.html that it helps to get the bitter flavor out of very ripe eggplants (such as mine). I think it also made the eggplant easy to work with when sauteing. After the 30 minutes is up you will have what closely resembles this
You can see the beads of bitter juice coming up from the eggplant. Rinse off all the salt. I rinsed the group of eggplant and then gently ran each side under the water as I placed them on a paper towel to dry completely. Once your eggplant has dried completely, heat up some oil in the bottom of a skillet on medium-high heat. You don’t want the oil to be so much that you are deep frying the eggplant, but you want to saute each side. Mix one egg and about a tbsp of water, dip each piece of eggplant in the egg-water mixture, then place it in the flour to coat both sides. Dr O suggested that next time we use wheat germ instead of flour, simply for health benefits. I’ll let you know how that goes. Once you’ve floured a few pieces, place them in the pan with oil and allow them to just brown on each side. Place them on a paper towel to drain and dry.
Once all your eggplant rounds have been sauted, drained, and dried, you are ready to prep your dish for the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This is where the tomato sauce debate may come into play at your house. At the O House, we are not fans of heavy amounts of tomato sauce. We like it, just in small, light quantities. So, I just barely covered the bottom of my casserole dish with tomato sauce (the thinnest layer ever!). Then place a layer of eggplant rounds. If you love heavy amounts of sauce, then pour a ton of sauce on top. If you’re like the O Fam, place a teaspoon on top of each eggplant round and spread with the back of a spoon. Cover with Italian cheeses and repeat until you have used all of your eggplant.
Bake this in the oven for 30 minutes and it will come out looking like this delicious goodness…
The O Family promptly consumed this entire dish! (Except Little O–who I am very proud to say at least tried the eggplant parmesan and then pulled it out of her mouth–maybe its an acquired taste or I should put more tomato sauce on hers next time?!) Anyway, Dr O (who as I said before is never really impressed with chicken or eggplant parmesan) literally talked about this dish until we went to bed last night! And the best thing to have with it are Julia Child’s Fresh Green Beans 🙂
Also at the farmer’s market, I found this bag of beauties
They don’t look like much here, but let me tell you: they. were. amazing. I’ve been using this method of making fresh green beans for a couple years now and every time I make them I want to hit myself for ever serving my family a bag of steam in the microwave green beans! First, snap both the ends off the green beans.
Then put them in a colander and get a pot of boiling water going. A large pot of boiling water. Just as the water is getting to a rolling boil, you’ll need to get an ice water bath ready. So grab a bowl, fill it halfway with ice, top it off with cold water–BUT don’t fill it all the way because you’ll want room for the green beans to go in without pushing water over the top of the bowl! Once your water is at a rolling boil, at in some salt (I never measure, just put a hunk in because it depends on how many green beans you’re making). Just before you put the green beans into the pot wash them with hot water. Put them in the pot and cover until the water comes back to a rolling boil. Allow them to cook for about 3-5 minutes until bright green, cooked through, but still have a good crunch!
Look at those beauties!!!! Now, turn off the stove, drain them in the sink, put them back in the pot and fill it halfway with water. Drain them again and put them in the ice water bath. Let them stay in the bath until completely chilled (about 5 minutes usually does it). I always prepare them ahead of time and place them in the fridge so I’ll give those instructions in just a second, but if you are serving them immediately then scroll past the storage instructions 🙂
Have a container lined with paper towels ready to go:
Drain the green beans and pat them dry. Place them in the container, cover them with another paper towel and place a lid. Plop them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve dinner.
These take just a few minutes to reheat, so I usually plate my dish, cook these, add them to the plate, and serve. Get a large frying pan out, along with some butter, salt, and lemon (optional). Place green beans over medium heat in the pan and toss with tongs to get rid of excess moisture. Then add about a half tablespoon of butter to the pan and continue to toss. Once they are heated through (just a few minutes), sprinkle with salt and top with lemon (if you like) and plate! So yummy and easy 🙂
A delicious, healthy meal and (as Dr O pointed out) vegetarian meal. He said, “This is the second night we’ve eaten veggies only…are we vegetarian now?” No we aren’t 🙂
PS- Stay tuned for a recipe for kale chips
PSS- I know I keep promising the delicious avocado recipe, but when I went to the store today there were no avocadoes (GASP!), but it’s still coming…one day 🙂