Eggplant Parmesan

Is there anyone who doesn't love this comfort food? Several CSA members have mentioned making eggplant parmesan from their share, and it has certainly been a hit with everyone in our family—even the picky eaters who don't normally like the look or texture of eggplant. 

To make this recipe even more flavorful, use homemade stewed tomatoes from your share, instead of the store-bought variety. Don't be intimidated if you've never made stewed tomatoes before. This tutorial makes it simple and fast. (Note: I thicken the stewed tomatoes with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to give it the texture my kids prefer.)

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds (about 2 large) eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 cups stewed tomatoes (equivalent to about 1 28-oz can whole peeled, stewed tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more to oil the sheet pans)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

Preparation

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch rounds, sprinkle with salt, and lay on a rack over a baking pan for about 1 hour while they sweat out their moisture.

Meanwhile heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for about a minute. Then add the tomatoes and their juices,and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the minced basil and remove from heat.
 
Set up a bowl of each of the following for dredging the eggplant with flour: flour, beaten eggs, breadcrumb mixture. To make the breadcrumb mixture, combine 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread a 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the bottom of two rimmed baking sheet pans. 

Pat dry the eggplant slices with paper towels. Then dredge eggplant rounds in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place on oiled sheet pan. Drizzle a little oil over the top of each breaded eggplant round.
 
Cook for 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F, turning the slices over at the half-way point, until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool.

In a 9x13-inch casserole dish, spread about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish. Add a single layer of eggplant rounds, then a layer of sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Then repeat the layers two times more. 

Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into to serve.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe  published on Simplyrecipes.com.