Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Authentic Eggplant Parmigiana

I was raised in Michigan. Now, you may think we are just your generic, Mid-Western types there, but truth-be-told, like so many other regions of the U.S., Michigan is a melting pot of many different cultures. Even in the suburbs we have our Greek, Asian and Italian specialty stores and restaurants. As kids we were treated to everything from the Polish perogie (which I loooove!) to German bloodwurst (which I don’t!). Recently, I was perusing one of my favorite cookbooks, “The North End Italian Cookbook” by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane and I realized just how much authentic Italian cuisine our mother actually cooked while we were growing up. I also realized that over the years I have been modifying those “authentic” recipes to fit a healthier and busier lifestyle, not a bad thing, but when I came across this recipe for Ms. Buonopane's Italian Eggplant Parmigiana I remembered just how wonderful it is, in all it's breaded glory! I couldn’t resist.  So, continue at your own risk. I guarantee you’ll get hungry!

Eggplant Parmigiana with Meat or Marinara Sauce
Serves 8-10 

2 small, dark, firm eggplants
1 1/2 cups oil, or more as needed
4 eggs, beaten
1 recipe of your favorite meat sauce or a plain marinara sauce about 6 cups
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (I did half of each)
chopped fresh parsley
Remove the stem from each eggplant. Cut the eggplants crosswise into slices 1/4" thick.
Do not remove the skin as this helps hold the eggplant together
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet
Dust each eggplant slice with flour, dip into the beaten eggs, then dip into coarse bread crumbs, and fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper toweling.
Line a 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish (I used my 9 x 13 baker) with a little of the tomato sauce. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce. Cover with a layer of mozzarella cheese, more sauce and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used. Pour leftover egg, if any, around the edges of the eggplant.
Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is tender and golden on top.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.
For best results, let eggplant rest for at least 30 minutes before you cut it.

 Slice eggplant about 1/4" in width

Dredge in flour, dip in egg, dredge in breadcrumbs

 Fry until golden on each side. I used canola oil and a good set of tongs!

 Drain each golden batch of eggplant on a plate lined in paper towels

 Layer: sauce, eggplant, mozzarella, sauce, Parmesan.....repeat

 Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until it looks like this...

I served this yumminess with garlic bread, sliced heirloom tomatoes (my favorite Black Russian variety) and fresh lettuces drizzled with Alziari olive oil (also my favorite, find it here).
Bon Appetite!

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