Hello! Welcome to my first blog!!! So exciting!
My first recipe post: Eggplant Parmesan Bake
I find it funny that my first recipe is a vegetarian dish…because I am the ultimate steak lover! However, I do have quite a few vegetarian recipes that I love….and one of those is Eggplant Parmesan. I love eggplant! I love it’s dark purple color! I love the song Purple Rain by Prince! ! Ok, see what I mean, that was random !If you haven’t had eggplant before, you have to try it. I know the big purple monsters are intimidating! I mean seriously…to look at them, it’s like, what the heck do I do with this thing!? Therefore, it doesn’t really surprise me to find out how many people have never tried eggplant. When I was checking out at the grocery store this evening, the cashier asked me “is eggplant good?”…turns out she is a vegetarian who has never tried eggplant. So I told her all about it…Retro Dinner Diva convert No. 1. Yeah!
So, back to eggplant. One thing you will often hear about eggplant is that you need to “salt” or “sweat” it prior to cooking in order to remove the bitterness. I’ll be honest with you, I never do this…maybe because I am a super impatient person or maybe because it seems to taste fine to me without that whole process, but my taste buds may be screwed up, who knows?! I will include the salting process in my recipe and leave it up to you as to whether or not to skip the step!
Recipe: Easy Eggplant Parmesan Bake
1 eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices (note: you can also cut the eggplant “lengthwise” depending on the size of your baking dish)
1-1/2 tablespoons, salt (or sea salt)
4 tablespoons, olive oil
1 teaspoon, minced garlic
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups, italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup, shredded parmesan cheese (split)
2 cups, mozzarella cheese
26 oz., spaghetti/marinara sauce of your choice (or homemade marinara sauce, recipe below)
1. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and place slices in a colander. Place a dish underneath the colander in order to capture the liquid that will “sweat” out of the eggplant. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (set aside remaining 1/2 cup). In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Set aside.
3. Rinse the eggplant in cold water until all salt is removed.
4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and minced garlic over medium heat.
5. Dip eggplant slices in eggs, then bread crumb mixture and place in skillet. Brown on each side. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices and add more olive oil if necessary.
6. In a small baking dish, evenly spread 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant on top of sauce. Top with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 3/4 cup sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat 2 more times ending with remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
7. Bake 45 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and eggplant is tender.
Yummmmm, baked bubbly goodness…..
If you have some spare time, here is a phenomenal recipe for a homemade marinara sauce courtesy of allrecipes.com. I love allrecipes.com. If you don’t have time, just use your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce…I prefer Prego’s Three Cheese spaghetti sauce for those busy nights.
Recipe: Best Marinara Sauce Yet
1 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
3 ounce, tomato paste
2 tablespoons, fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon, minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon, dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon, salt
1/8 teaspoon, pepper
3 tablespoons, olive oil
1/4 onion, finely diced
1/4 cup, white wine
1. In a food processor, place tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions with olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine.
3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I hope you enjoy! Eggplant parmesan rocks!