Baked Eggplant Parmesan
One of the most popular eggplant dishes, eggplant Parmesan combines lightly breaded and fried eggplant slices with layers of shredded Mozzarella cheese and rich, homemade tomato sauce. The casserole style dish is baked until the eggplant is tender, flavors have blended and the cheeses have melted. Sauteed onion and garlic are combined with tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, water, basil, fresh ground black pepper and honey. The homemade sauce is simmered over low heat until the sauce thickens. Meanwhile, thinly sliced pieces of eggplant are dipped in egg and bread crumbs and fried until the breading crisps and browns. The sauce and eggplant are layered with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Eggplant comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes including purple, red, white, yellow and green. The large dark, purple Western eggplant variety is the one we find most often is supermarkets and farmers markets. Other colors, shapes and sizes are available with some work. For the most part, the different varieties are interchangeable in recipes. This recipe for assumes you will be using 2 small eggplant of the purple Western eggplant variety.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
2 small Eggplants, peeled, cut into thin slices (1/4 inch) 2 cups Plain Bread Crumbs 1 cup grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese 1 large can Crushed Tomatoes 1 can Tomato Sauce Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 2 Large Eggs 1/2 cup Water 1 Whole Red Onion, peeled 1 tablespoon Honey 3 Garlic Cloves, minced 1 tablespoon Sweet Basil 1 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper Light Vegetable Oil 1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. 3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the onion and garlic. Let the mixture stand for two minutes. 4. Add the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. 5. Add 1/2 cup of water, stir and bring to a boil. Add the basil, pepper and honey. 6. Partially cover the sauce pan and reduce the heat to a simmer. 7. Cook for approximately 1 hour or until the onion is done. 8. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and add a touch of water. 9. Mix together the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. 10. Place the bread crumbs in a flat dish. Mix well. 11. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then coat with bread crumbs. 12. In a heavy frying pan, heat the vegetable oil. Brown the eggplant slices lightly. Add oil as needed to keep on frying. 13. Place the browned eggplant on paper towels to let the oil drain. 14. In a baking pan, put one ladle of tomato sauce on bottom and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese. 15. Add one layer of eggplant. Put sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella. 16. Add layers until the eggplant is gone ending with mozzarella cheese. 17. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for one hour. 18. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.
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