Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

I finally took some pictures of my Eggplant Parmesan creation process the other night so I could share it with you all. This recipe is the most delicious and savory dish I make.  Warning: DO NOT make it if you are on a serious diet, as it's basically just a big pan of cheesy, oily goodness.  Also, I'm very much an "eyeball it" type of cook so nothing in this recipe is exact, so make sure you tweak it to your own liking.

What you need:
2-3 medium eggplants (depending on how much you want to make)
1 container of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese 
4 or 5 eggs
A lot of olive oil
2 jars of pasta sauce
4-6 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese 

The first thing I do is grab my biggest frying pan and pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan about half an inch or so.  I then make a little assembly line.  I arrange my eggplant on my cutting board.  Then I whisk the eggs in a bowl with a tablespoon of water.  I also fill another bowl with breadcrumbs and a little bit of grated Parmesan, maybe 1/4 cup.  Then I cover up a plate with paper towels to set my just-out-of-the-oil-eggplant on after it's fried.
I then start slicing up the eggplant into about 1/4 inch thick pieces.  You can slice it thinner or thicker depending on your preference.  I personally like the slices on the thin side because I don't like huge thick pieces of eggplant.  I try and slice up all the eggplant at this point so I get it out of the way and won't have to worry about it once I start frying.
After all the eggplant is sliced, I dip it first in the egg mixture.
Then I dip it in the breadcrumbs+grated Parmesan.
Then I toss it in the oil.  I usually fry 3-6 pieces at a time, depending on the size.  You want to fry both sides until they're a nice golden brown color.
I then set the hot eggplant on the plate to cool off and drain some of that oil. 
 Once I've got a decent amount of eggplant, I cover the bottom of my baking dish with a thin layer of sauce. 
 I then layer the eggplant in the bottom of the pan.  You don't have to cover every single spot, just don't leave any huge empty spaces.
 Then I add a layer of sauce.
And then a layer of cheese. 
Continue this layering eggplant, sauce, cheese until you have 3-5 layers. If I'm just cooking for our family I do three layers, but if I'm cooking for my whole family (my dad, haha) I'll definitely do five. 
Don't put cheese on the last layer quite yet.  Cover it and bake it at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Then take it out and add the last layer of cheese.  I like to make this layer nice and thick because, well, I love cheese.  Then bake it for another 15 minutes or until the top layer of cheese is all melted and bubbly. 
 Exactly how it should look.  Pure deliciousness.
Now enjoy it.

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