Eggplant Parmesan

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I was at the farmer’s market on Friday and was looking for some fresh produce to make a pasta dish. I spied a stand with beautiful, healthy looking eggplant. I immediately thought of eggplant parmesan. We haven’t had eggplant since the winter time because of how hot it gets in the kitchen while making this dish.

Thankfully we have been having cooler weather the past few days so I picked up a large eggplant and a clove of garlic. Let me start by saying I have no set recipe for eggplant parmesan. I worked in an Italian restaurant as a waitress for five years and picked up a few tips on how it was made at the restaurant. I use a variety of ingredients depending on what I have in the house.

The eggplant turned out rich and buttery, topped with sauce and melted, golden brown cheese. My husband and I each ate a large piece for dinner that night, but we were waiting to eat a larger portion the next day. While we both really enjoy eggplant parmesan the day it is made, the flavors just explode in your mouth if you wait until the second day to eat it. It’s definitely worth the wait.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant, cut into thin slices
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. garlic powder
1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1 c. flour
3 eggs
¼ c. olive oil for frying
4 c.  of your favorite marinara sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ c. parmesan cheese

1. Heat 2 T. of the olive oil in a large skillet.

2. In a large shallow dish crack three eggs and beat well. In another shallow dish mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and breadcrumbs.  In a third dish put the flour.

3.Press each slice of eggplant into the flour.  Then dip the eggplant slices into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Put 5 or 6 slices into the oil at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.  (If you’d like you can bake the eggplant instead at 475 for 5 minutes on each side.)

4. Add 1 T. of oil and cook 5 to 6 more slices of eggplant. Repeat until all the eggplant slices are fried.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix the marinara sauce with the minced garlic and about 2 T. of the Parmesan cheese.

6. In a large glass baking dish (I use 10” x 15”) pour a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant on top of the sauce (about 9-12 slices). Top with a handful of mozzarella cheese and more sauce. Repeat layers until all the eggplant is used.

7. After the last layer of eggplant top with the Parmesan cheese, then more sauce, and finally a layer of mozzarella on top.

8. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

9. Serve over spaghetti or other pasta.

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