An Oldie, Butta Goodie

July 25, 2007 at 8:43 am 20 comments

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Without fail, every trip to a diner sees eggplant parmesan on my plate.  I mean, seriously, you could bet your entire life savings on me getting eggplant parmesan – for me it’s the quintessential diner food.  It also gives me terrible heartburn afterwards, which no doubt begs the question – why do I repeat the experience every single time?  Well folks, I love the combination of breaded goodness with marinara sauce and cheese.  If I ate chicken, I might switch it up once in awhile but those days are behind me.  So it is that I routinely take on the heartburn demons for the sake of melty crispy indulgence. 

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That is until I discovered this recipe, which brings together all the delights of my beloved eggplant parmesan without the dreaded after-effects.  I’d love to tell you where I got the recipe, but it’s one of those that I scribbled down on a piece of paper and put in “my” cookbook – a battered (both figuratively and literally thanks to all those food bits attaching themselves when I have it out to make a recipe) spiral notebook stuffed full of handwritten slips, newspaper clippings and torn magazine pages.  Anyway, the recipe has morphed greatly over the many times I’ve made it so it probably matters little where I originally got it.  By the way, do any of you keep a similarly crazy haphazard collection of clipped/torn out recipes?   My mom always had one so it seems normal to me, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m just a pack rat and not this “aspiring chef collecting menu ideas” that I feign to be. 

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Where was I?  Oh, yes, a fantastic knock-off for eggplant parmesan.  If you have picky eaters at your table (i.e., kids or boyfriend), you need to give this recipe a try.   Don’t forget the garlic bread on the side (slice a baguette in half, toast it in the oven, rub cut sides with a fresh garlic clove and spread on some good butter).  And the leftover eggplant is excellent for lunch the next day so make some extras. 

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PANKO BREADED EGGPLANT SLICES

2 medium or 3 smaller eggplants
1 T. salt
2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. finely shredded parmesan cheese
2 t. finely chopped fresh basil OR oregano
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. milk
2 c. tomato sauce
2-3 oz. goat or feta cheese, crumbled

Partially peel eggplants, leaving on a bit of skin for color and substance.  Slice eggplants into even rounds a little thicker than 1/4 inch.  Lay out some paper towels and place eggplants on top in a single layer.  Sprinkle generously with salt and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.   Pat eggplant slices dry with additional paper towels.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.   In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk together.  In a second shallow bowl, combine panko bread crumbs (crush them in your hand first to make them a bit finer), shredded parmesan cheese, herbs and pepper.  Toss well with your hands to be sure to evenly distribute the cheese. 

Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture.  The bread crumbs might be reluctant to stick so press firmly and don’t worry if you can still see the eggplant through the crumbs.  Lay breaded slices in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.  Place full baking sheet in the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on the outside and tender in the middle.  While eggplant is baking, bring tomato sauce up to a simmer and set out the goat or feta cheese.  When ready to serve, pile eggplant slices on a plate and top with sauce and crumbled cheese.   If you make extra to use for lunch the next day, store breaded eggplant and sauce separately and combine just before serving. 

(makes 4 substantial side dish servings) 

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Entry filed under: Purely Vegetables, Recipes. Tags: .

A Little Southern Comfort Now you don’t even have to cook it yourself…

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. FarmgirlCyn  |  July 25, 2007 at 11:47 am

    I, also, love eggplant parmesan, but am usually disappointed by the quality of the dish at most restaurants. I find it far too greasy, with FAR too many breadcrumbs. The eggplant is virtually lost in the crumb mixture, and the amount of oil used is insane. I will definitely try this as I have panko crumbs in the freezer, and an abundant supply of eggplant, thanks to the local farmers mkt and my own CSA menbership. One of my favorite ways to eat eggplant is to simply brush slices of it with a bit of good olive oil and grill it till soft on the inside and crispy on the edges. Most times half of it doesn’t even make it to the table!!!

    Reply
  • 2. Jennie  |  July 25, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Hey Cindy. Yep, I love grilled eggplant too. The combination of that with grilled asparugus has got to be one of my top three all-time meals. Heck, I might even request it as my final meal if put in such a pickle. Well, you’ll definitely like this breaded eggplant because there’s no oil and the breadcrumbs don’t engulf the eggplant. Quite the nice balance, if I do say so myself. Certainly a heck of a lot healthier than the traditional dish.

    Reply
  • 3. Trace  |  July 26, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Eggplant is full on right now in my area. I’m not a huge fan of the fruit, but this recipe sounds like it is worth a try. Our standard for eggplant is simple breading, frying and then adding to a basic pizza.

    Reply
  • 4. Jennie  |  July 27, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Trace – you bread it and fry it before you add it to pizza?? Wow, that must be the southern style. I love eggplant pizza but up here it’s always just plain eggplant char broiled in melted into the cheese on top of the pizza. I might have to give your version a try though…Yum!

    Reply
  • 5. Trace  |  July 27, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    It is kind of a New York version. Slice the eggplant very thin, flour-egg-breadcrumbs, then fry for a bit in a really good oil. Great on pizza or an eggplant sandwich with pasta sauce. Authentic NYC pizzeria style. I think. I’ve learned very few Southern recipes in my ten years here, and I have always modified them pretty heavily.

    Reply
  • 6. Jennie  |  July 30, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Trace – I’m going to try your pizza idea, but add some squash blossoms and sea salt… To be continued….🙂

    Reply
  • 7. Jeff  |  July 31, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Hey, I just stumbled upon your blog from Slashfood but I had to write when i saw this recipe. Something I’ve been doing for a while is taking a slice of breaded, fried eggplant (or simply toasted under the broiler if i don’t feel like making the batter) and using it as a base for a goat cheese/carmelized onion tart. Sometimes I’ll add a few strips of roasted red pepper. Check it out, it’s great!

    Reply
  • 8. Jennie  |  July 31, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Jeff – Welcome! So, let me get this straight… you use the eggplant as the “tart” and fill it with the cheese and carmelized onion or do you use a dough base too? No matter what, it sounds wonderful! I’ll have to give it a try.

    Reply
  • 9. jolynna  |  August 1, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I love eggplant and this sounds really good. I think I’ll add Jeff’s suggestion of roasted red pepper, too.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • 10. Jennie  |  August 2, 2007 at 6:45 am

    Jolynna – yes, yes, try the roasted red peppers too and let us know how those turn out.

    Reply
  • 11. Alone with Many Eggplants « Straight from the Farm  |  August 22, 2007 at 10:05 am

    […] While I was kicking back in my nylon armchair with built-in cup holder (whatever did Americans do before these souped-up lawn chairs came along?) at the campsite in Maine, I quickly flew through the pages of my latest favorite read.   Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant is a fascinating compilation of literary glimpses into several foodies’ – some more famous than others – habits when cooking and dining alone.   Besides the content, I was initially drawn to the cover graphics, as is often the case with me and new books that haven’t come to me on prior recommendation.  In fact, the sliced eggplant “informed” (okay, I was trying to create a knock-off) one of my previous recipe photos. […]

    Reply
  • 12. Rachel  |  August 28, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve tried other “lower fat/baked” eggplant parm recipes, but this one is the best I’ve had. Excellent! And the Nathan report-he ate 2 slices, too.

    Reply
  • 13. Jennie  |  August 28, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Rachel –
    So glad you and Nathan liked it!!! It’s by far my favorite way to make eggplant at home. 🙂

    Reply
  • 14. Joanna  |  September 4, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Hey Jenny,

    I’ve occasionally been reading your blog for awhile (even before we both started blogging for Farm to Philly), but I’ve finally gotten around to trying some of your recipes over the last few days. I found this entry from your ‘Alone with Many Eggplants’ entry, and it seemed like a revelation of the *perfect* recipe for my mood, since with all the tomato abundance around, I’ve been craving red sauce and melted cheese.

    Unfortunately for me, I’ve only cooked with Italian eggplants once or twice before, so I had a little trouble with it. (Sorry — I’m sure it’s a good recipe!) I think I accidentally let my eggplants sit in the salt for too long — over 40 minutes. So, after they were breaded and baked, the breadcrumbs and cheese (I didn’t have fresh parmesan to grate, so I used up some of the commercial grated parmesan I had in my fridge from long ago) were the prominent taste, not the eggplant. Do you think that was from salting them too long? Or maybe I cut the eggplant slices too thin to begin with?

    Reply
  • 15. Jennie  |  September 4, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Joanna – hmmm, yes, it does sound like you left the eggplant with the salt for too long. The salt, as you may well know, is meant to do two things – first, draw out moisture from the slices so they don’t get soggy when baked up and second, reduce the slight bitterness that eggplant has sometimes. My guess is that by leaving them salted for so long, you took out too much moisture and all the bitterness. I also would suggest being sure to use fresh grated cheese next time. The stuff that comes in a jar is usually much saltier than the fresh stuff. Likely that overpowered any remaining taste in the eggplant.

    I hope you’ll give this recipe another try with the modifications…it really is such a superb little meal! Thanks for posting your questions so we can all learn a little more! 🙂

    Reply
  • 16. Joanna  |  September 5, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the review about eggplant gets salted; I think I mostly knew that, but your explanation was concise and helpful. (And I’m absolutely sure fresh grated cheese would have made a difference, but I’d forgotten to buy some!)

    I will keep this recipe in mind to try again, and let you know how it turns out!

    Reply
  • 17. Jennie  |  September 6, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Definitely let me know if you try it again, Joanna!

    Reply
  • 18. Not Quite McDonald’s « Straight from the Farm  |  September 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    […] version.  Really, what baked food can truly compare to its fried counterpart, except maybe the baked eggplant parmesan recipe I shared awhile back?  That being said, carrot fries are very similar to sweet potato fries […]

    Reply
  • 19. Playing Favorites « Straight from the Farm  |  September 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    […] vegetable.  Eggplant.  I could eat eggplant a million different ways and never get tired of it.  My absolute favorite preparation is eggplant parmesan, for which I’ve offered a great recipe in th…  But there are a few Indian dishes that use eggplant that could easily topple my champion from its […]

    Reply
  • 20. "mer om ämnet på"  |  October 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    “mer om ämnet på”

    “[…]q I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I need bd[…]”

    Reply

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