My grandmother used to slice eggplant, dip it in bread crumbs, and fry it. In truth, I remember this happening maybe once or twice as a part of my childhood, but it was enough to make me swear off eggplant for the rest of my life.
My first mother-in-law used to insist that tastes changed every seven years. If you didn’t like something, just wait. It took me a lot longer than seven years, but perhaps five years ago I did try eggplant parmesan and — guess what — I loved it.
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods:
Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1 and copper. It is a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
I don’t think I would bother with plain eggplant as my grandmother served it, but I do enjoy this recipe once in a while.
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- fresh basil, thyme, and oregano to taste (I grow it, dried is fine)
- 2 cups marinara (a jar speeds this up considerably)
- mozzarella cheese, feta crumbles, and grated parmesan, enough to sprinkle on layer
- Lightly spray the pan and a baking sheet and preheat oven to 375 degrees
- mix chopped herbs with bread crumbs in a shallow bowl
- dip eggplant in milk, then in the bread crumbs and arrange on baking sheet
- bake until tender, about 20-25 minutes, and remove from oven
- spread some tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole pan
- layer eggplant, cheeses, tomato sauce until pan is filled
- sprinkle parmesan and extra bread crumbs on top
- bake (uncovered) at 375 for 40 minutes
- remove from oven when heated through and bubbly, let rest for 10 minutes
- serve and enjoy
This will easily serve four people. It is not a last minute preparation meal, but I do freeze half for another time when I need a convenient grab at mealtime.
Baking the eggplant slices rather than frying them cuts down on the fat. I am fairly stingy with the addition of the cheese, but of course more is an option.
Salad or a green vegetable completes the dinner for me. Sometimes I am inclined to add chopped spinach to the layering and serve with a glass of red wine.