Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Eggplant Parmesan

One of my favorite summertime dishes! Though I'm disappointed that my garden eggplant are still not ready. But the tomatoes and basil came from my garden. The original recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking; the vegan version is my adaptation. Though really, the "original" I've adapted as well because I don't think the proportions for the coating are correct.

Eggplant Parmesan

Slice two medium eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds. (Make sure to trim both ends; they can be tough and overly chewy.) Set up three dishes: the first, a small plate with flour on it, the second 3 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of olive oil, the third a mound of bread crumbs, processed from about 4 slices of bread. First dredge the slices in the flour, then soak in egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Lay each slice on a rack and let them dry for 10 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice 5 large-ish tomatoes and put into a colander. Let them drain for 20 minutes. Then toss with 1/2 cup chopped basil, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for up to 30 minutes, or until you're ready to start layering.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat, in a large skillet, until the oil is shimmering. Add eggplant in one layer and cook in batches. Turn after about 4 minutes, when golden brown. When golden brown on both sides, remove to a plate. Add more olive oil if needed and finish frying the remaining eggplant in batches. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Coat a 9X12 baking pan with half the tomato sauce. Layer the eggplant, overlapping them as needed, or use an 11X17 pan for less overlapping. Top with the remaining sauce and then dust with 2 teaspoons of oregano and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Combine and sprinkle over the top: 1 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese and 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Optionally, you can sprinkle over the top a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and browned in spots.

We like this with pasta.

Now for the vegan version:
When you're coating the eggplant slices, dredge with flour, then dip in soy milk, then in vegan breadcrumbs. Instead of cheese, use crumbled tofu. That's it!

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