Eggplant Parmigiana

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I am trying to be present here more. I think it would be good for my well being to cook more and thus post more. Let’s see how this plan goes.

According to River Cottage Veg this is a lovely dish to make on a long rainy afternoon when you don’t have much to do. It is the first recipe in the book, perfect to start my new cooking-more adventure with. So after work on a Thursday at 7:30 pm I embarked on the eggplant parmigiana journey. It would be no problem I thought, You just layer everything and cook! Not realizing that the sliced eggplant should sit for an hour and the sauce needs to be prepped then cook for an hour and once assembled the dish itself needs to bake for an hour. Determined to see it through I didn’t take as much time as needed to let the sauce thicken and the eggplant drain but I did eat around 11 pm that night and it was worth it. Next time, though, I’m saving this for a lazy weekend day… This cooking new things after work will be learning process. 😉

Eggplant Parmigiana ~ Adapted from River Cottage Veg

4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)

4-5 tbsp of olive oil

2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (about 4 oz each)

finely grated parmesan cheese, or other hard cheese

For the sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 (14 oz cans plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (any stems and skin removed)

1 bay leaf

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

a pinch of sugar

*I ended up only using 2 (12 oz) cans of already chopped tomatoes. Maybe the ratio to the whole ones is different. Either way it isn’t a bad thing to end up with to much home-made sauce.

Trim the eggplants and slice lengthwise (thinly). Layer the slices in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave to drain for an hour or so. (I skipped this step but I think it is a useful one if you have the time).

Make the sauce: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute   for about 10 minutes, stirring on and off, until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer then simmer briskly stirring often for around 30-45 minutes. The end result should be a nice thick sauce. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Rinse off the eggplant slices and pat dry. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot fry a batch of eggplant slices for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and tender. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices adding a little more oil before each batch.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. In an oven proof dish (8 by 10 inches) layer a third of the eggplant slices. Cover with sauce (make sure to remove the bay leaf first). Then top with teared pieces of the mozzarella and sprinkles of the grated parmesan. Repeat this layering process until the dish is full, about 3 layers of each.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. Great on its own but also perfect with a large salad to make a meal.

Enjoy!

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