Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

Okay, I have to admit here that this isn't the first time I've made eggplant parm. It's just the first time I've done so using an actual recipe, instead of making it up on the fly. Using a recipe can be helpful, sometimes.

So, I picked up some eggplants a couple of weeks ago, thinking I'd try something vegetable-based and relatively health. (This is right after I started reading In Defense of Food.) What I didn't realize, though, is that eggplant soaks up a TON of oil while being fried. I mean, waaay more than I actually wanted to eat. So while it turned out most deliciously, this should probably not be considered a health food.

One more thing to note. Supposedly, "male" eggplants have fewer seeds. Supposedly, you can identify "male" eggplants by looking for a dash-shaped indentation at the bottom of the eggplant where it connected to the stem. I looked for "male" eggplants at the store, but the results were inconclusive; they were just as seedy as every other eggplant I've ever purchased.

Eggplant Parmesan

Comments & Modifications:
  • I salted and drained my eggplant for only a half hour or so, but didn't notice it tasting bitter or anything. I think the shorter time was probably fine.
  • I think it's important here to slice the eggplant thinly. I made this twice, and cut the slices a bit thicker the second time to reduce the amount of total frying time. When I sliced more thinly the eggplant got nice and crispy, which both Dan and I preferred.
  • I used half regular (homemade) breadcrumbs and half panko. Yum.
  • We were too hungry to let this sit in the oven for half an hour, so we layered it straight onto our dinner plates.
  • Er, we didn't have any fresh basil, or fresh mozzarella, and I didn't use any parmesan either. Dan did use some regular mozzarella but I didn't bother.
  • The main thing I learned from this recipe is that tomato sauce made from whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes from a can is easy, cheap, and really delicious. Seriously, it had such a fresh tomato-y taste even though I chose not to add the garlic and olive oil. I'm never ever going back to the jarred stuff, ew.

Verdict: This was deeeeelicious, but I don't think we'll be making it again. Too much oil, even if it is olive oil. I hear it's possible to make eggplant parm by baking instead of frying, and I hope to try it that way someday, but my expectations aren't that high.

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