Will You Eat It if I Call It Melanzana?

What do you do when you want to serve up a vegetable that only you like?

What else? You fry it.

Better yet–fry it, then cover it with sauce and cheese!

That’s my solution for eggplant. We’ve been having some beautiful eggplants at the market lately, and no matter what I’ve tried to win over my family, I’ve had no converts. Seriously: the ratatouille I made not too long ago was worthy of a movie, but other than a polite nibble by everyone around the table, I was left with a lot of leftovers to eat all by myself.

So tonight’s eggplant parmigiana is my last ditch effort to serve up this beautiful veggie to everyone’s liking.

Two small eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ discs
Flour, for dredging
3 eggs, beaten
Seasoned breadcrumbs, for dredging
12 ounces mozzarella, grated
16 ounces simple tomato sauce

Spread out your eggplant discs in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Salt both sides fairly aggressively, then cover with more paper towels. Weight a cutting board on top of the eggplant and set aside for at least a half hour.

Once your eggplant is ready, prepare them for frying–dredge in flour, dip in egg, and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Dredging stations are great places for kid helpers– Josh loves this prep work, and usually his little sister will get in the act as well.

Set aside the breaded eggplant for 10 or 15 minutes. Now is a good time to get that cheese grated.

Heat up about a 1/4″of olive oil in a frying pan and fry your eggplant until golden. Set aside until they are cool enough to work with.

Now comes the construction, another step that’s good for little hands.

Eggplant parmigiana is one of those dishes that I almost never make up a sauce for–I use whatever is leftover in the freezer. Usually that’s about a pint, more or less.

Sauce the bottom of a 9×12 glass pan and lay out your fried eggplant in a slightly overlapping single layer. Next apply the sauce–not super heavy, but enough to cover each piece. Next add the cheese–again: don’t bury the dish in it, but definitely have a liberal hand. Finally, dot the top with any remaining sauce.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is well melted and bubbling.

Serve with a pasta first course–spaghetti would be best, I’d say, but whatever makes you happy is fine by me.

So how did the dish go over?

Mixed results: I won over two out of four family members–not bad in my book. At least now I have a couple of others around the house to help me with leftovers.

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5 Responses to Will You Eat It if I Call It Melanzana?

  1. Dad says:

    Your nana/mom uses canola oil instead of olive oil because doesn’t smoke.
    It is a great recipe.

    • joshdaddy says:

      Yeah, as long as you watch your temperature it’s OK. I would use canola if I were doing true fritti, but for frying like this I like the taste of the olive oil.

  2. Amelia says:

    I adore eggplant too. Prepared exactly the way you made it here I make lasagne with the fried eggplant rounds and everyone eats it. However when I make beijing style eggplant I have plenty of leftovers. I hope you get some converts soon. At the moment the kids will only eat eggplant in lasagne or as babaganouj which isn’t too made I guess.

    • joshdaddy says:

      Mmmm…our all-time favorite Chinese restaurant serves up a dry-fried eggplant that is super crunchy and super tasty (and molten hot in the middle when it’s first served). Josh will eat this version, but it’s a bit too spicy for him to get through more than a few bites. No leftovers on this dish, though, but that’s because I don’t leave anything behind!

  3. Pingback: Miso Glazed Cauliflower | Cooking With Josh

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