After avoiding the kitchen all weekend, it was finally time for me to get back in it and make some food. I’m sick, tired, and still have no appetite. If it weren’t for Mr. Surly, I would be content drinking all my meals via smoothies and weight gainer shakes. But alas, I live with a constantly hungry man. I had an eggplant in the fridge that Mr. Surly bought last week, begging me to make him eggplant parmesan. I decided to make some yesterday to use up some pasta sauce I made on Friday. I really didn’t follow a recipe, I just kinda threw it all together. Mr. Surly raved about this, so I thought I’d post my guidelines so next time I can remember what I did. I prepared the eggplant and assembled the dish in the morning then popped it in the fridge until I was ready to bake it for dinner.
~ ½ c bread crumbs
~ ¼ c cornmeal
~ 3-4 c pasta sauce, homemade or from a jar
Prep the Eggplant
You have to salt and sweat the eggplant so that it doesn’t taste bitter. Peel it (I like to cut it in half lengthwise) and rub it liberally with salt. Set in a colander in the sink and let it sit for about 30 minutes. It will sweat off some liquid, not much. After 30 minutes rinse the salt off the eggplant and lightly pat dry with a paper towel. You can cut it up into pieces bef0re salting it, but I like to just cut it in half so I don’t have all those little pieces to rinse off. Then cut the eggplant into half disks of desired thickness.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour bread crumbs in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Dip eggplant slices in bread crumbs and coat, then lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. I don’t put anything on my eggplant slices before dipping them, the pieces are still a bit damp from the rinsing. My bread coating is pretty thin because I don’t like heavily breaded food, if you like you could rub a bit of olive oil on your pieces before coating with bread crumbs to get a thicker breading.
Lightly spray pieces with olive oil cooking spray then bake in the oven for about 30 min, flipping pieces over halfway through baking, until golden brown. Allow to cool.
Assembling the dish
If baking immediately after assembly, preheat oven to 375 F.
Spoon some sauce into a small casserole dish (I used this rectangular Le Crueset dish but I think and 8x8 would work, too). Lay eggplant pieces in a single layer. Cover with fresh spinach leaves, another layer of sauce, then some mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese. Follow with another layer of sauce, eggplant, spinach, sauce, then cheese. I sprinkled some pinenuts on top for an bit of protein. Cover with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 min or so, until the bubbly and cheese is melted and lightly browned. I served my pieces on a bed of spinach leaves, and topped with more pine nuts and fresh chopped basil.