Sunday, May 20, 2012

Guest Post: Eggplant Parmesan

I have a wonderful Guest post for you from my buddy Mdivani, he kindly offered a recipe with a clip. I always enjoy his interviews on his blog with fashion designers and think he has tremendous talent in front of a camera. He's a fashion designer, foodie and world traveler and honestly such a sweet person on twitter. You may recall I made his Grandma's Borsht recipe once. 

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my all time favorite dishes and I have been making my grandmother’s recipe from the Tuscan region of Italy for as long as I can remember. Even though it turns out delicious every time, it involves dredging slices of eggplant in flour, dipping them in egg and then frying them.

As I started eating healthier over the last few years, I also started to rethink the Eggplant Parmesan recipe. How could I make a flavorful version without the egg, flour and especially the frying, making it healthier and decreasing the calorie intake. So about 2 years ago I started experimenting with the recipe.
I perfected a version where I sliced the eggplant, lightly brushed the slices with olive oil and then roasted them in single layers on baking sheets. It turned out great, but all of the single layer roasting was very time consuming.

I spent this last Christmas in Venice, Italy and while there discovered a charming restaurant with exquisite food called A Beccafico. We loved the restaurant so much that we ended up going back three times. On one of those visits, I ordered an appetizer that blew my mind. They took a half eggplant, roasted it, topped it with marinara, parmesan and mozzarella and then baked it! I knew that I had found the answer to making a healthy and flavorful Eggplant Parmesan.

As soon as I got back to the States, I went out and bought eggplant and experimented until I got it down pat. Now I am ready to share it with you!

2 Medium to Large Eggplants
1 Cup Marinara (Recipe to Follow)
1/4 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan
3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Preheat Oven to 450 Degrees

Peel off the leaves and cut off the stems of the eggplants. Slice the eggplants in half and lightly salt each half with the kosher salt and let sit for about 15 minutes to let the salt draw out some of the excess moisture in the eggplant halves. By doing this, the eggplant will retain its shape better and roast more evenly. When the 15 minutes is up, brush the salt off of the halves with a paper towel.

Score each eggplant half on the flesh side with three slices, then lightly brush each half with olive oil. Places the eggplant halves flesh side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and roast in the 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the eggplant and when the skin just begins to wrinkle slightly, it is time to take it out of the oven. It could take up to 25 minutes depending on your oven! Let the eggplant cool for about 15 minutes and then remove carefully from the aluminum foil.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 Degrees.

Spray a large baking dish with a non-stick spray, preferably olive oil based and place the eggplant halves
in the dish flesh side up. Top each slice with marinara sauce, sprinkle lightly with finely grated parmesan cheese, then top with the shredded parmesan and the shredded mozzarella. Place the eggplant back in the 375 Degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, pass the eggplant under the broiler for just long enough to lightly brown the cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Grandmother’s Marinara
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic chopped
1 6-oz. can Tomato Paste
1 28oz. can Italian Plum Tomatoes, strained
2 3/4 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Sherry
2 Sprigs Fresh Sweet Basil Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
Salt and Pepper

Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil until it almost becomes translucent.
Add the garlic to the oil and continue cooking until the garlic just begins to
brown. Add tomato paste, strained tomatoes, water and sherry. Stir until well
blended, add the seasonings and cook uncovered over low flame, stirring
occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.

for more follow along: 

Mdivani Monroe

Twitter - @LadiesWhoLunch1
Designer, World Traveler, Foodie out to discover the best of the best and share it with you!!
Traveling :)

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