My Eggplant Parmesan

Here is my eggplant Parmesan recipe (I ate it all before I took a pic, so I grabbed these from wiki).   I make my mayo from scratch, so I use it to enrich a lot of things. I tried it one day just to see if it would help hold the bred crumbs on, and the results were fantastic. That is what got me started pressing the liquid out of the eggplant - that gives it a more meat like texture, firmness and not soggy, so that it really binds with the mayo and crumbs. The mayo gives it a richness, a meatiness and a background layer of tanginess, even though I don't use much. It is not a traditional Italian recipe - just something I came up with.

First, the sauce.... which is the most important thing, because you can use it for lots of other dishes.
Heat a pan to about medium hot and toss in enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add about 1/2 to finely chopped medium onion (yellow or white is best). Once the onion has softened and turned translucent, toss in a 2 or 3 chopped garlic cloves. As those cook, add a pinch of crushed red pepper, a das...h of slat and black pepper, oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme ( a pinch to a half teaspoon full of dried, or twice as much fresh). Then, add one large can of crushed tomatoes. Simmer that for a bit and salt and season to taste.

The second most important thing is getting the water out of the eggplant - it is bitter and makes it hard to cook.

First, either peel your eggplant or peel off alternating strips, so it looks striped.... or leave the peel on (which is what I do). Then, lay it down lengthwise and cut of round slices about 1 inch thick. Salt the round on each side and place them on in a colander, with paper towels between each layer. Put a plate on top and a double sized can of tomatoes (or something about the same weight) on top of the plate. Leave it for an hour. The weight of the plate and the can will press the water out and the salt will really pull it out.

Then, spread a little mayonnaise on each side of the eggplant rounds and coat them in Italian bread crumbs. (home made or store bought). You can then either bake these in an oven, single layer of breaded eggplant rounds on a cookie sheet for about 30 min at 350 degrees, turning over half way, or until brown) or pan fry them in olive oil until brown.

After the eggplant is browned, put a some sauce in a casserole dish or baking pan and sprinkle some parmesan (or mixed cheese) over it, lay a layer of eggplant on that and then put more cheese on the eggplant. Put sauce on that and repeat until all the eggplant is used. Put more sauce on top, more parmesan and some good slices of mozzarella. (if you want to spice it up a little, some Italian sausage between the eggplant layers is really good).

Bake at 350, uncovered for 30 min or until the cheese is browned.


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