One of the veggies (or is it a fruit?) I am looking forward to the most is eggplant. I adore eggplant! I know what many of you are thinking. Eggplant?! YUCK! Well, if eggplant isn't cooked properly, it's not all that great. But prepared well, it's AH-MAZING.
I think the most important thing to remember about eggplant is that it is very porous and acts as a sponge. So DO NOT over-salt. Under any circumstance. It will completely ruin the eggplant, making it inedible. Trust me here...I have had some HORRID salty eggplant before!
Also, you don't want to saturate it with too much oil. A light brushing with high quality olive oil is best. Otherwise, you will have oily, greasy eggplant, and that's almost as bad as the salt-lick version.
I make an amazing eggplant parmesan, and I would love to share my recipe with you! Everyone here loves it, except for my husband. He won't even try it because not only is he afraid to give eggplant a shot, he also hates tomato based sauces.
- 1/2 cup Panko
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 eggplant - trimmed, peeled, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 12 oz. water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 (8 ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 8x14-inch baking dish.
- Mix Panko, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes in a shallow bowl. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and press into bread crumb mixture to coat. Lay slices onto a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Remove eggplant and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Whisk tomato paste and water in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Stir in basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, brown sugar, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Place eggplant slices into prepared baking dish, overlapping the slices. Spoon tomato sauce over eggplant and top with mozzarella cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. If desired, broil for 1 to 2 more minutes to give the cheese topping a golden color. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.