Learning As I Chop

Innovating with Eggplant

Posted in Baking/Cooking by R @ Learning As I Chop on March 7, 2011

Last night, H requested my chicken parm so I starting making it for dinner. However though I thought I had purchased enough chicken, I quickly realized I was wrong. I then remembered some pretty eggplants in my fridge and drew upon old memories of a Mario Batali recipe I had once seen. So I decided “what the heck.” There was enough chicken for H and I could always make a sandwich if the eggplant didn’t pan out.

I don’t know if I’d call this dish healthy, but it’s definitely lighter than the usual recipe. Rather than frying the eggplant, drizzle the slices with salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil and then bake for 10 minutes at 450.

In the meantime, saute some breadcrumbs in a pan. I had never done this before, and was scared they’d burn, but the crumbs became nice and toasty in just a few seconds.

Place the eggplant into your baking dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of grated parmigiana and follow with tomato sauce. Of course you can make your own sauce, but jarred works well in a pinch. I normally find jarred sauce too sweet but Barilla makes a nice tomato/basil version that I like. Top with sliced mozzarella as the final touch and tuck into the oven for 15 minutes.

I have to say this dish is delicious. Especially good for vegetarians who are looking for a “meaty dish” without the meat. This is one of the first meals that I’ve made without a recipe. Sure, I used Batali as an inspiration but I also relied on my experience and made some of my own decisions. Eggplant parm + confidence in the kitchen = truly satisfying. Enjoy!

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