We've decided around our house that we need to start eating more vegetables. We have so few meat-free dinners, and veggie-centric dinners that we make on a regular basis and I decided to finally start to remedy that. I've never tried eggplant before but I've been curious for a while now. Finally at the store a few days ago I just grabbed one and put it in my cart. I got it home and sat in on the counter, then stared at it for a while. What the heck do I do with this thing?
Finally, I decided to ease myself into this. What's the most well-known eggplant dish? Eggplant parm, of course! I have close to a dozen eggplant parm recipes saved but so many of them involve frying the eggplant. That kind of defeats the purpose of eating veggie-centric meals, don't you think? So I decided to bread it using the method I prefer for several meat-based dishes and just went to town making it on my own.
When it came to the sauce, I decided to give Newman's Own Sockarooni pasta sauce a try. I'd been sent this a few weeks ago through Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program to sample. I wasn't sure how the eggplant would pair with the peppers in the pasta sauce, but it turns out that I LOVED it! Should I ever make this dish again using a homemade sauce I'll probably add peppers to the sauce. It think it really helped give it some interesting depth versus plain old boring marinara dish.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
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1 medium eggplant (I used a whole large one and it made a TON more than I needed to serve the 3 of us with leftovers)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. water
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup plain bread crumbs
2 tsp. oregano
2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch thick circles. Sprinkle one side with kosher salt and lay them on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. Blot the water that rises off the eggplant, flip, re-salt and let sit another 15 minutes. Blot away excess water again. This keeps the eggplant from getting too soggy.
Place the flour in a small bowl. In a second bowl mix the eggs with water and beat together. Using a third bowl mix both kinds of breadcrumbs with the oregano.
Dredge each piece of eggplant into the flour, shake off the excess, dredge in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Once all the slices are done, place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, flip them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the edges are getting crispy.
Remove the eggplant from the cookie sheet and arrange in the bottom of a 13x9 glass pan. Top with marinara and cheeses and place back in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Source: Original Laura recipe