Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe calls for a technique of salting of the eggplant, also known as purging. Salting the eggplant first will accomplish two things:  enhance flavor while drawing out the water that causes bitter flavors, as well as collapses the air pockets inside the flesh to eliminate soaking up too much oil and making it greasy.

To salt the eggplant, simply peel or not peel and cut according to your recipe… slice, cube, etc.  For this recipe, you slice.  Then layer the bottom of a colander with one layer of the eggplant and generously coat with kosher salt.  Place another layer of eggplant and coat again with salt, continue until all eggplant has been salted.  Something heavy may be placed on top to press down on the eggplant to facilitate draining.  Allow to stand from 1-2 hours, depending on how much time you have.  Afterwards, brush all remaining salt off the eggplant and use paper towels to press any remaining liquid from the vegetable, and prepare according to the recipe.

Time Saving Tip:  It’s okay to substitute high quality marinara from a jar in place of homemade, you will need 2 jars for this recipe.

Eggplant Parmesan
serves 8
Ingredients:
3 large eggplants, about 2 lbs.
2 c. plain breadcrumbs
4 large eggs
kosher salt
olive oil
6 cups Marinara Sauce
(6) 2 inch balls of fresh mozzarella
50 leaves of fresh basil, any size Or 1 cup of firmly packed leaves
1/2 cu. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Directions:
  1. Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with kosher salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours.
  2. While eggplant is draining, prepare Marinara Sauce.
  3. When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture.
  4. Place eggs in large shallow bowl and beat well.  Place breadcrumbs in a second large shallow bowl.
  5. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil.
  6. Dredge the eggplant slices in the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs.  Stack on plate and prepare to fry each piece.  Stack on paper towels after taking them out of the oil.
  7. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  8. In a large casserole dish, spread 1/4 of marinara in bottom of dish.  Layer 1/3 of eggplant along bottom of casserole dish.  Top each eggplant with a slice of fresh mozzarella.  Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, add one leaf of fresh basil on top of each slice of mozzarella.  Coat with 1/4 of marinara sauce.  Do the same layering with the remaining ingredients: eggplant, mozzarella, Parmigiano, basil leaf, marinara, repeat.  Ending with Sauce and remaining Parmigiano.
  9. Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes.  Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note:  Be sure to cook the eggplant thoroughly before placing in dish. Very important.  Fry until well done.


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