The one dish that I think I have been making the longest is Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan. It was one of the dishes I loved as a kid, though I preferred Veal Parmesan. As a college student, making veal wasn’t economical, so over the years I tried to perfect my “chicken parm.” I’ve done it the easy way with store bought tomato sauce, battering each eggplant or chicken piece, as well as many other variations.
This version, that you see above, is based more closely on a Mario Batali recipe for eggplant Parmesan. I joke that this recipe has 20% more Batali, but in essence, it is his recipe that I made for this post. I have been making his version of ‘basic tomato sauce’ for years now, and that is the basis of this recipe. I altered a few of the aspects including the use of grated mozzarella cheese instead of fresh. Anyway, I can see this recipe as a more traditional eggplant parmesan in which you use no eggs as part of your batter, and no frying either.
This dish was fantastic and I predict that I will make it all the time, with 20% more Carnivore.
Serves 4 (I halved the original recipe, but I am posting the full recipe)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds (sliced and pre-salted, see below)
salt and pepper
2 cups basic tomato sauce (recipe follows)
1 small bunch fresh basil (chiffonade)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/8 inch slices
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan-reggiano
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs or packaged (without spices/herbs)
Slice each eggplant into about 6 slices, about 1 inch thick (I opted to slice the eggplant the long way and then in half). Salt generously over all pieces and place in colindar for about 25 minutes. Much of the water will be drawn out and remove the bitter taste. Wash with cold water.
Preheat oven to 450.
Lightly season eggplant with salt and pepper and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until eggplant begins to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Lower oven temp to 350. In an 8×12 brownie tin, arrange larger eggplant slices around pan. Cover each slice with about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and teaspoon basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and a teaspoon of parmesan-reggiano. Top with another slice of eggplant and repeat until all ingredients are used up.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and light brown. Serve with fresh pasta.
Basic Tomato Sauce:
Yields 4 cups. Above recipe calls for 2 cups, but you can freeze for 6 months or in the fridge for 1 week.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 spanish onion, 1/4 inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
In a 3 quart-saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until light brown, about 10 minutes.
Add thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more
Add tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirringly frequently (think Ray Liotta’s instructions in Goodfellas). Lower heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until thick. Season with salt and serve.