As I child I hated, absolutely hated, eggplant. Eventually I could tolerate a bite or two of fried eggplant, but as soon as I had a say in the matter I stayed as far away as I could from anything eggplant!! Skip forward four decades when I decided to adopt a mostly clean eating and buy local lifestyle, eggplant is everywhere. They are such a beautiful vegetable. The first few times I decide to try eggplant, they rotted before I did anything with them. A month ago or so, I stumbled upon Tosca Reno’s Strike Sugar Challenge. One of her recipes that I adapted included eggplant.
My family enjoyed it and after some mental challenges related to childhood eggplant issues; I had to admit it was good. So the next recipe I wanted to try was eggplant parmesan. After asking my friends and researching on the internet, I found Simple Recipes’ version of eggplant parmesan. It sounded delicious and easy. Here is my adaptation. (Which 2 out of 3 of us think is delicious! My DD does not care for it. She thinks it’s weird! Go figure!)
4 medium size eggplants
8 cloves garlic (minced)
2 small white onions (chopped small)
1 15 oz can tomatoes (I only had diced on hand)
1 jar Prego sauce (I used mushroom)
16oz fresh mozzarella (sliced)
Small block Parmigiano Reggiano
~ ¼ – ½ t. Oregano, Thyme & Basil (I used dried because of a family member’s food allergy)
Panko bread crumbs
Cut eggplant into ¼” slices. I salted them and let them sit maybe 30 minutes (I really don’t like to wait 2 hours and probably wouldn’t have done it at all, but it was too early to start the dish!)
While waiting on the eggplant slices, sauté onions in olive oil. Season to taste w/ oregano, thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Once the onions are almost translucent, add the garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off.
Preheat oven to 450°. When the eggplant is ready, wipe off with a paper towel. Spray a cookie tray w/ olive oil. Put the almond flour in a shallow bowl. Crack 4 eggs in another shallow bowl and whisk w/ a fork. In a third bowl, add panko and mix in freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. (I used ~1.5-2 cups panko and 1-2 T of grated Parmigiano.) Take one slice of eggplant at a time and dredge in the flour, dip in the egg and then toss in the panko mix. Lay on the cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes until brown.
When finished remove from oven. Turn oven down to 350°. Spray glass casserole with EVOO. Place a small amount of tomato mixture on bottom of casserole. Place one layer eggplant slices on top of tomato mix. Place slices of mozzarella on top of eggplant and spoon in ricotta. Dust with grated Parmigiano. Cover this layer with half of remaining tomato mixture. Then repeat. (I had 2 layers). Pour the Prego over the dish and top with remaining panko mixture from earlier step and grated Parmigiano.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and nicely brown.
Notes: I did not peel the eggplant. Next time I will peel it for ease of breading and cutting when eating.