Daddylibrium in the Kitchen: Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe

eggplant parmigianaI may owe my marriage to eggplant parmigiana.

Long ago I decided to make the dish for the fetching young lady I had met in tennis class. She was – gasp – a vegetarian, and my limited arsenal of recipes had very little to offer in that arena. I already knew how to make chicken parmigiana. How hard could it be to swap out one simple, albeit key, ingredient?

I didn’t know it at the time, but that meal would play a role in our protracted courtship. Evidently I knocked it out of the park that night, for the Missus-to-be talked about that dinner for weeks, even months. She still talks about it today.

“I knew I could marry you after I tasted that eggplant parmigiana,” she later told me, tongue only partially in cheek.

It’s a hand-me down recipe from my Mom, a simple dish that packs plenty of flavor. And yes, you can swap out eggplant for chicken as I did with the same results – just make sure the chicken is given enough time to cook through the center before serving. Eggplant is far more forgiving in this area.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, medium sized (I prefer a long and thin eggplant because the slices it yields are easier to coat and cook)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • Italian bread crumbs, as needed
  • mozzarella cheese, generous handful
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • pasta, any variety
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • one egg
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • one teaspoon of minced garlic

Directions:

  • Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized pot along with the garlic. Cook for about a minute on medium heat.
  • Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into the pot, add as much basil as you wish (a 1/4 of a cup, max) and stir. Add salt, pepper and sugar. Leave cooking on a low heat.
  • Peel and slice an eggplant into 1/8-inch thick round slices. (You can cut thicker slices, but I find that size is ideal).
  • Combine the egg and milk and whisk in a small bowl.
  • Dip the eggplant slices into the egg/milk mixture, and then coat with bread crumbs.
  • Put enough olive oil in a nonstick skillet to coat the bottom. Put the stove on medium heat and place the breaded eggplant slices in the oil. Turn after about a minute until both sides are a light golden brown. Put the browned slices on a large plate covered with two paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Pour the sauce into a long, oven safe pan that is at least 2-inches deep. Shake the pan gently to make the sauce settle in an even layer. Add the eggplant slices and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.

eggplant in baking tray with sauce

  • Cook the eggplant and sauce at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta based on the directions on the box.
  • Put the cooked pasta on a plate. Coat with the eggplant and sauce mix. Add a dash of parsley flakes to make the dish look more appealing, and you’re ready to serve.

(Should yield enough for 4-5 people) 

Are there any special recipes in your life? Meals that had an impact far beyond the typical dinner? Please share them below … I’m guessing I’m not the only one with a tale to tell.

Comments

  1. Maureen Toto says

    looks delicious so much more artistic than mine. My slices were never so nicely done. I had small pcs. big pcs. aha. Enjoy Julie.

  2. says

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve always loved Aubergine Parmigiana when I’ve had it in a restaurant but never actually made it myself. I’m probably going to give it a go this week and even just got the ingredients in the supermarket too!

    As a vegetarian myself, I think it was a really good choice of thing to cook as aubergines have real flavour and it’s a really appetizing dish.

  3. Christian says

    Jonathan, my wife’s vegetarianism gave me fits initially — I’m such an old school carnivore. But being flexible with recipes and meals is important, so her dietary restrictions ended up being positive for me in the long run.

  4. Christian says

    Jonathan,

    That’s the best news I’ve heard all week! OK, the week is young, but still! Thanks for the feedback!

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