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Friday, July 22, 2011

Eggplant Parmigianna

True story: I just came home from wherever, I was 14 at the time, on the stove is a pan of, OMG, my favorite, EGGPLANT PARM!!!!. I grabbed a fork and not even bothering to get a plate, began to feast, halfway through, MOM, walks in...WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? THAT'S YOUR FATHER'S DINNER!!
Well, don't recall the repercussions from that event, but the fact remains, I LOVE EGGPLANT PARM!!
Not just any one's , my eggplant parm, why? have not had better. Thin sliced ,floured,egged ,breaded ,fried crispy,layered with the wife's marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese....I'm drooling....
 Most people have had, or have made this wonderful Italian favorite, and I'm sure there are some who would like to, but are intimidated, or don't know how. Just relax, it's easier than you think, not quick, but simple. Select a day or two, if time is an issue, so you are not stressed to get done, you can make the marinara sauce in advance, PLEASE DON'T BUY JAR SAUCE!!   I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!

Let's make some eggplant parm....
 you will need
 2  28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes, I use only tuttorosso brand. Change the ingredients and you change the outcome. I know I'm prejudiced about this dish, so ,PLEASE, try to get tuttorosso.
1 medium onion chopped small
2 cloves garlic minced fine
3 tbsps olive oil
about 1 tbsp sugar ( depending on taste, the tomatoes sometimes can be acidic)
1/4 - tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 +1/2 tsp minced fresh
1 tsp chopped fresh Italian parsley ( the flat leaf type)
salt and black pepper to taste
 in a heavy bottomed pot ,heat olive oil over medium heat, when hot, add onions, saute till soft don't brown. Add garlic, saute 1-2 minutes  don't brown or garlic will be bitter. 
add the 2 cans  crushed tomatoes, and herbs, stir all together, bring to boil. lower to a simmer, cover, cook 2 hours stirring often, lower heat if simmering too high, you want a gentle simmer. remove from heat let cool, use or when completely cool put in fridge till needed.
2 medium eggplants ( the large black skin type) , about 1 lb or more each
about 2 quarts whole milk
about 1 cup all purpose flour
about 3 cups dry 'unseasoned' bread crumbs
about 8 large eggs
 cut off top of eggplant just below the leaves, and trim a slice off the bottom, peel.
slice eggplant in 1/8" thick round slices
 Place sliced eggplant into a gallon zip bag or use 2 bags if needed
 add enough milk to submerge slices pressing out air and seal, eggplant should be covered with milk. place bag(s) into large bowl ( as a precaution against leaks) put in fridge for 1 hour
 the milk removes any bitterness and 'sweetens' the eggplant  

                                                I tried slicing one length wise, mistake, stay with rounds.

 Drain eggplant discard milk,
 use 2 rimmed large baking sheets one for bread crumbs one for the breaded slices
beat 4 eggs in a bowl till frothy. then place in a pie pan, cake pan etc
put flour into a plastic see through bag, and add 3 eggplant slices, one at a time, shaking bag each time to coat,dip into egg, then bread crumbs, place onto another tray
continue till all are done using more eggs, flour,bread crumbs as needed
fry slices on both sides till browned, in hot oil about 375, on my electric cook top that's at # 4-5, drain onto paper towel lined sheet pan
when all are done assemble ,first a layer of sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan
then a layer of eggplant,tear or cut pieces to fill spaces
then another layer of sauce
top with shredded mozzarella
another layer of eggplant cut to fill spaces
another layer of sauce and cheese ( tried a different side of the box grater)
another layer of eggplant, then sauce,then cheese, till pan is full, leftover pieces may be frozen,or used for eggplant rollatini.eggplant filled with ricotta and cheese and rolled like a crepe ,topped with sauce and baked.
cut wooden skewers in 3rds insert into pan ,this is to keep foil from sticking to the mozzarella
cover with foil, bake in a preheated 350 oven about 35-40 minutes, or put in fridge till needed, and then heat through, it will take longer to heat through if cold from fridge.  Hope you will give it a try!

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