I never expect to see shiny, plump and beautiful eggplant in the grocery store until mid/late summer, but we’ve gotten lucky this year as a booming crop became readily available in our local market (unlike the empty paper towel and toilet paper shelves!) Since this is one of my favorite summer comfort foods, I thought I’d share and old world recipe with you. (If you want to skip a step and use purchased tomato sauce, that’s a great time saving option.)
You might ask why you need to soak your eggplant in salt water first. This does two things: it draws out any of the bitter juices that can be found in older eggplant and tightens up the flesh, making the eggplant less likely to soak up too much oil when you are frying them. This recipe will make 2 – 9×13″ pans. Since it can be a bit time consuming to make, it enables you to put one pan away in the freezer for another time.
Andiamo a Mangiare!
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
- Eggplant & Cheese
- 3 large eggplant(s)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 5 extra-large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 cup pecorino romano cheese grated
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 Tbsp olive oil approximate
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- handful fresh basil leaves torn
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 quarts tomato(es) crushed - San Marzano (fresh or canned)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1-2 tsp sugar to taste
- Wash eggplant. Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant and slice across into 1/2" rounds (no need to peel) Submerge in a large bowl of cold water with 3 Tbsp Salt. Put a plate across the top of the bowl to keep the eggplant submerged. Let soak 30 min to 1 hr.
- Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot on top of the stove, heat the oil and add diced onion and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
- Add the torn basil leaves, oregano and garlic. Continue cooking for another minute, watching that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the the salt and pepper and the tomatoes and the remaining sugar, if desired.
- Continue cooking over low heat until the flavors meld. Let simmer 30 min. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels
- Mix together the Flour, salt and pepper on one plate. In a second large shallow bowl or pie plate, beat the eggs together.
- One at a time, dip the eggplant in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten eggs
- Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan
- Fry the eggplants until golden on one side and then turn to continue frying on the other side. Remove to a paper lined sheet pan.
- When all the eggplant are fried, you are ready to assemble!
- Spray two 9X13" pan with PAM spray
- Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan
- Lightly sprinkle with the grated pecorino romano cheese
- Layer the eggplant slices - touching but not overlapping
- Sprinkle grated mozzarella over
- Lightly sprinkle with grated pecorino romano cheese
- Continue layering in this order: Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Mozzarella Sauce Eggplant Pecorino Romano Sprinkle Chopped Parsley Mozzarella End with Sauc
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 min. Let rest 10-15 min.