Hi, y’all! I know you’ve been anxiously waiting for me to post my delicious recipe from last night. Don’t lie! I know it’s been on your mind all day!
Well, I won’t waste your time with my usual jibber jabber. As you can tell from the title of today’s post, I made eggplant parmesan last night…from scratch…all of it (except for the cheese part of course). If I may say so myself, it was some of the best I’ve tried yet. Super yummy and super healthy too.
Ok let’s start with step one…picking out the perfect eggplant. I was at the grocery store yesterday faced with the most important decision ever of the day. “Which eggplant do I pick? They all look the same.” I called my mom, and as luck would have it, she didn’t pick up. So, I called Vishnu’s mom, and luckily, she picked up. She told me to look for a good medium sized eggplant. Also, she said to look for one that is smooth and dark purple all around – there should be NO brown spots. And finally, you want to ensure that the tip of your eggplant is as green as can be, as that indicates freshness. As soon as my I hung up with her, my mom called me back and said the exact same things. Phew! I completed the rest of my shopping trip and headed home.
Back to the recipe…
My version of this dish requires some prep work. Trust me, it’s worth it!
First you want to cut off both ends of the eggplant and then slice it into thin circular pieces (as thin as you can get them). Then place one layer of eggplant pieces on a paper towel lined plate (you will need multiple plates). Once you have all your eggplant lined up in a single layer, sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the pieces. This step helps eliminate most of the bitterness of the eggplant as well as remove some of the liquid. Let your salty eggplant (hehe) sit for about 45-60 minutes.
After about an hour, you want to rinse off each piece with water. Again, this may sound weird, but trust me, it works. Places your rinsed pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet (again you will need multiple). Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once in the middle. Remove eggplant and allow to cool. Don’t turn your oven off though…instead turn it up to 400 degrees.
While your eggplant is baking away, you’ll want to get started on your sauce. You could use store bought, but then this dish wouldn’t be homemade, would it now?!
NOTE: I am a one person household, so I used one medium sized eggplant. And I still got four good sized servings out of it. With that being said, you can easily tailor this recipe to feed more people.
After scouring the internet for some sauce recipes, I figured out the basics and decided to go with my own version of a spicy homemade tomato sauce.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or this**
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar* (or sub red wine)
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until very light brown. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, mix until combined. Then add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and then add basil and vinegar (or wine). Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Voila…your sauce is ready!
*If you don’t like the taste of balsamic vinegar to start off with, don’t use it. You can easily omit this ingredient and still end up with a delicious sauce.
**I looked for fresh basil at my grocery store, but they were out, so I bought this instead…
…and it worked just fine. Look for it where all the other herbs are.
So, once the sauce and eggplant are ready, you can start assembling. I used a 13×9 baking dish. Start off with a layer of sauce, top with a single layer of eggplant, cover with sauce, and then sprinkle a bit of your favorite cheese (I used an Italian blend, but next time, I plan to use good old fresh mozzarella and parmesan). Repeat layering until you’re out of eggplant pieces (I had three layers in all). Top off the dish with some cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
If you follow my steps carefully, this is what you’ll end up with…
So freakin’ delicious! I told you it was worth the wait. I chose to eat it as is – no pasta for me last night. But, I bet this would go perfectly with some buttered angel hair pasta…mmmm.
I have a feeling this recipe will become a regular for me! Woot!
Before I go, I want to ask y’all to do one more thing for me. Unfortunately, this favor is on the serious side. Please go to Caitlin’s blog and read her post about her neighbor Tonya. And if you have extra money to spare, please consider donating to Tonya’s fund. Regardless of whether you are able to donate or not, please keep Tonya and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
Y’all are truly the best! Thanks and have a terrific night!