This fabulous take on the traditional “eggplant Parm”—a staple of red-sauce Italian joints—will be a revelation. Forget about the heavy, greasy eggplant lost in deep-fried breading. Here it is grilled to a soft-charred beauty and layered with melted cheese, seasoned bread crumbs, and a delicate tomato sauce. This recipe began as an attempt to convert my husband, who was scarred as a youth when forced to eat eggplant at its slimy-viscous-undercooked worst. As a result, he refers to eggplant as the organ meat of vegetables. Not fair. Whenever he’s out, I cook eggplant!
Reprinted from the book Mad Hungry Cravings by Lucinda Scala Quinn. Copyright © 2013. Published by Artisan Books.
|2 eggplants, sliced 1/3 inch thick (24 slices total)||1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper|
|17 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil||1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano|
|1 teaspoon coarse salt||1/4 cup chopped fresh basil|
|1 cup fine bread crumbs||3 cups tomato sauce|
|1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese||1 pound fresh mozzarella, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (24 slices total)|
Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center position. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with ¹⁄3 cup of the olive oil and season with the salt. Working in batches, add to the grill pan and cook, flipping once, until charred and soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a platter or baking sheet.
Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, pepper, herbs, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl.
Place 8 slices of the grilled eggplant on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Top each with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of the bread crumb mixture, and a slice of mozzarella. Repeat to make 2 more layers.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until soft, golden, and bubbly. Serve immediately.
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