I thought I hated eggplant. I wasn’t crazy about the texture or taste so I have avoided it for a long time. But, with my new cooking blog challenge, a meat free meal once a week, I saw a recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana in the Meat Free Monday Cookbook and decided to conquer my fear.
With beautiful eggplant and basil from the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market, tomatoes canned by Kip’s mother, and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese from the grocery store, I was set with ingredients. I already had olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper.
The recipe I used called for lightly brushing the eggplant slices with olive oil, seasoning them with salt and pepper, and cooking them until tender on a ridged grill pan, which I own. You can also fry them in a non-stick pan.
One of the keys to a delicious Eggplant Parmigiana is the tomato sauce. You can use any family recipe or favorite sauce, but I followed the recipe directions and combined garlic, tomatoes, cinnamon, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. I did add tomato paste to thicken my sauce. Pay attention to your sauce, add seasonings and spices, keep tasting, and adjust to your liking.
Then, it was a matter of layering the sauce, eggplant slices, and cheeses and baking the dish for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden. My layers were sauce on the bottom, eggplant, sliced mozzarella, grated Parmesan, more sauce, more eggplant, more sliced mozzarella, more grated Parmesan, and finally topped with the remaining sauce, and sprinkled with Parmesan.
The picture on the left is before baking and the picture on the right is fresh from the oven. I would say the eggplant adventure was a success and I conquered my fear. Kip said it was delicious and I really enjoyed it. The combination of tangy sauce, gooey mozzarella, and tender eggplant was tasty. I would definitely make this again and the good news is we have more to enjoy tomorrow for dinner.