GENIUS EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA

I am so excited about this recipe! I saw Jeff Mauro prepare it during a recent show of The Kitchen, and just knew I had to try it right away. Right away as in same day. That’s what happened. And then I could not wait much longer to share. Eggplant is a tricky veggie. It soaks oil like nobody’s business, I love eggplant parm, but usually avoid the breading and the frying and end up with a very simplified version starting from grilled slices. It is ok, but compared to this method? It doesn’t even seem like the same recipe.  Try it and I know you will be amazed.

EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
(from Jeff Mauro, as seen in The Kitchen)

1 medium to large eggplant
2 eggs, beaten with a teaspoon of water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
tomato sauce
slices of mozzarella cheese

Heat a baking sheet – empty – in a very hot oven, 450 to 500F.

While the baking sheet is heating, peel the eggplant, cut crosswise in 1/2 inch slices. Reserve.

Put the eggs, water, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmigiano cheese in another bowl next to it. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg wash, but allow just one side to get wet with the mixture. Dip it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat, and carefully place on a rack with the crumb side up.

Make sure you have the tomato sauce warmed up and ready to go, and the cheese slices also nearby. Remove the baking sheet (careful, it’s going to be very hot) and drizzle the olive oil to coat the hot surface. Working quickly, add the eggplant slices with the crumb down. It will stick to the oil and start to get pretty hot right away.  Add the tomato sauce on top, cover with cheese, and place in the oven, reducing the temperature to 375 F.

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. I added a little extra tomato sauce on top after 10 minutes.  When the cheese is starting to get golden brown at the edges,  the eggplant will be done. Serve right away with your favorite side dish.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope I made myself clear about how much we loved this recipe. Eggplant without excessive oil? Check. Eggplant with a delicate crunchy component? Check. Eggplant cooked to perfection, not a slight hint of mush? Check. Melted cheese with a bonus of browned up edges to nibble on? Check.

I doubt I’ll ever make it any other way. For the two of us, one-quarter sheet pan held 6 slices of eggplant, perfect for our meal with two slices leftover for a light lunch next day. That was exactly one eggplant. I used store-bought tomato sauce this time (Rao is a brand I like very much), and provolone cheese instead of the more traditional mozzarella.

I do hope you try it and let me know if it will make you do an extended version of a Happy Dance. Now, when you make it, please skip the exotic maneuver I used. When I was about to crack the second egg for the egg wash, it slipped and headed at 9.8 meters per second squared to the floor. With lightning fast reflexes (I am very proud of that, actually), I grabbed it between my knees, but that cracked the egg. There’s only so much luck a person can have.  Egg yolk miraculously stayed put inside the broken shell, but egg white made a truly epic mess in my pants. There was intense profanity going around, and a husband pretty much folded in two laughing. Thankfully, no pictures. But you can use your imagination, in case you need a good laugh, like some humans apparently do.

Never a dull moment, folks… never a dull moment…

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