A Vegetarian comes to Sunday dinner (eggplant parmesan)

My friend Adrienn is a vegetarian.  She is also in law school, poor dear.  She is also very nice and takes care of my pup for me sometimes.  To thank her for watching Ginger in advance, feed her poor starving student self, and show her the ropes of the not so new now pad; I decided to have her over for dinner before my trip to Florida for a bachelorette party.  I had gotten a Hollygrove Market box and there was eggplant in it.  I am not usually a huge fan of eggplant, but I do love Eggplant Parmesan.  I had some store bought marinara sauce and breadcrumbs in the pantry (how very unlike me) so I will call this recipe easy and semi homemade.  I based it off of this pin that looked beautiful. Full recipe after the montage.  I decided to let you see the finished product first...mmm  Linking up with Southern Plate and Southern Bite for Meal Plan Monday!

Cheat day in serious full effect.  That's stringy yummy mozzarella on top, not more pasta!
Slice the eggplant and place in a colander and cover with a bunch of salt.  Make sure you remove that salt well because ooh wee mine turned out salty!
After about 20 minutes or so they are all flimsy.

Eggplant Assembly line!
All breaded and ready for frying.
Fry them up to a golden brown.
Layer Sauce, eggplant, cheese and over again
Add some ribbons of basil for extra color and flavor
Bake and marvel in how yummy being a vegetarian on cheat day can be!
Eggplant Parm (Borrowed from Table for Two)
1 large eggplant, sliced into ½" thick slices
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
3 eggs
½ cup milk
4 tbsp. vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
I ball fresh mozzarella cut into thin slices and then in half again
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Place a clean dish towel on top and weight the down with a heavy can or a heavy pot.  Let the liquid drain for 25 minutes or up to 1 hour.  After draining liquid, brush off the excess salt very well, as you don't want it to be too salty! In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil for every 2 eggplant slices. In a casserole dish, add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices  then using a ¼ cup, dollop marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn't to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, place a few pieces of mozzarella cheese and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplants slices. Top the casserole with more cheese and the basil before you place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. Then place under the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown.

Happy Cooking!


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