Friday, January 23, 2015

Layered Eggplant Parmesan

This dish brings out the best in eggplant parmesan and the best in lasagna. Meaning, it's delicious. Seriously delicious. I used Lick My Spoon's recipe as a jumping off point (the photos of her recipe made me want to lick my computer screen). This recipe makes about six servings.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 70 minutes

One (1) large eggplant, sliced 1/2-inch thick -- or, multiple smaller eggplants; you'll need at least eight large slices
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Twelve (12) ounces of your favorite tomato/pasta sauce -- you can make your own, or buy a high-quality sauce
Three (3) cloves of garlic, minced
One (1) egg
1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
One (1) cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Two (2) cups of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
Four (4) tablespoons of salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and place in a large colander for at least 15 minutes. This will pull most of the bitter juices out of the eggplant.

Lightly rinse eggplant slices off and pat them dry.
Place eggplant on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil.
Bake for 40 minutes, flipping eggplant once. When done, eggplant should be roasted to a golden-brown.

While the eggplant is roasting, pour about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg, and add in the ricotta, half of your minced garlic, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Flavor with pepper, if needed. Set aside.

When eggplant is done, remove from oven and begin layering in glass baking dish. You will have a layer of eggplant slices (it is okay if they overlap), a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of mozzarella and parmesan, and then a layer of sauce. Repeat until you are out of eggplant slices (this should be 2-3 layers).

Top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake at 375F degrees for 15 minutes, or until cheese on top has melted.

While this is baking, toss panko breading, olive oil, and remaining garlic together in a small mixing bowl.

After about 15 minutes of baking, top your dish with the panko breading mixture and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the panko is lightly toasted.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!