Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

Sometimes, simplicity is key. A rich and hearty pasta sauce with herbs and spices sounds fantastic, but tomatoes and basil simmered together sounds even better. That is the exact sauce used for this Eggplant Parmigiana, which is also a very simple recipe. Five ingredients max and no breading or frying involved (though I really should make the real deal one day). My stack of eggplant rounds fell apart as I took it out of the pan, but no worries--still delicious.

Eggplant Parmigiana

While I really enjoyed the eggplant, I fell more in love with the sauce. So much so that I made it again just to have with pasta a couple times. Mixed in some Parmesan and sprinkled on a tiny bit of crushed oregano. I even drank up the tomato juices in the sauce which I usually don't do since it's too acidic for me. This definitely makes it into my Lazy Days recipe collection, which is happening quite often. I guess that's what I get for being unemployed in the summer, eh?

Quick Tomato Sauce

Eggplant Parmigiana [Makes 4 servings]
From Stonesoup

- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large eggplant, sliced into rounds about 1/2 inch thick
- 2 x 400g (14oz) canned tomatoes
- 1 bunch basil, leaves picked
- 2 large handfuls freshly grated Parmesan cheese + extra to serve

1. Cook onion with a little olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat until soft but not browned.
2. Meanwhile sprinkle eggplant layers with salt and allow to stand while the onion cooks.
3. Add tomatoes and a few basil leaves to the onion. Crush tomatoes to break up and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes to an hour – you just want the flavours to come together – no need for the sauce to reduce. And don’t worry about seasoning it – there will be plenty of salt in the eggplant and cheese.
4. Preheat oven to 425F. Generously oil a large baking tray. Pat eggplant dry with paper towel, removing as much salt as possible. Place eggplant in a single layer on the tray (you may need 2 trays) and drizzle generously with more olive oil. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning once or twice until eggplant is very soft and golden brown on both sides.
5. Place a layer of tomato sauce in a medium baking dish. Layer with eggplant slices, top with more sauce, a few basil leaves and some cheese. Repeat the layers until everything is used up finishing with a generous sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbling.

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