The Best Eggplant ParmesanLasagna

Eggplant Parmesan/Lasagna I could not resist stopping at the local farm stand one last time to get some fresh produce! And I just had to share it with everyone because it is just too good. YUMMY! Eggplant is so delicious if it is really fresh.

Many recipes recommend soaking the cut up eggplant in salt prior to cooking to cut the bitterness but I find that it is much too salty for me and if it is really not bitter at all if it is truly fresh. So, the best thing to do is get the freshest eggplant possible! Remember "Fresh is Best."

This recipe is not for the faint of heart cooks who just want some "instant gratification." It makes one heck of a mess and takes some time to make but I can assure you it WILL be worth it!

Here are the ingredients:

2 medium fresh eggplants Italian bread crumbs Eggs (beaten) Flour Canola oil for frying, enough to cover a large skillet to about one inch deep. (for a healthier version put a little oil on a baking sheet and bake them in a hot oven preheated to 400 degrees for 10 mins per side) Grated mozzarella Ricotta Cheese (I use half regular and half part skim and mix them together) Grated Parmesan cheese (the finely grated kind) Italian Tomato Sauce

Cut the eggplant into ½ inch slices Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs into three separate flat bowls

There are two ways you can attack this, one is to "multi-task" like I do and heat the oil and start frying the slices while you are simultaneously coating them in flour, egg and bread crumbs.

Or, alternatively you can wait until you have them all coated and ready to fry so you can just concentrate on one thing at a time (I recommend the latter if this is your first time).

Coat each slice of eggplant with the flour then coat with beaten eggs, then coat with bread crumbs. Tip: I use a fork when coating with the eggs then plop it into the bread crumb bowl. I then use my fingers to pick up some of the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top to make sure it coats it all. Then I place each slice on a baking sheet to wait to be fried. Once you have coated all the slices you can heat the oil to medium/high. It should be hot enough to sizzle when you put a slice in but you will have to be careful that it doesn't get too hot and burn them.

Usually I turn it down just a little once I start frying them but keeping it still hot enough to sizzle and brown them. You'll get the hang of it once you start doing it. Just check them once in a while to make sure they aren't getting too dark and you'll be fine.

I have to warn you that the "eggplant gremlins" will find them while you are doing all this frying and you may only end up with 2/3 or even ½ of what you started with because they are pretty darned tasty just in their fried state!

Next comes the assembly: In a 9 X 13 pan or something similar to that size will work. Layer everything in this order:

Tomato sauce first on the bottom of the pan thin layer Eggplant (enough to cover the pan as well as you can. Ricotta cheese (spoon it on top of each eggplant slice) Sauce Mozzarella (sprinkle over the top of everything) Grated Parmesan (sprinkle over the top of everything) Eggplant Ricotta Sauce Mozzarella Grated Parmesan

Keep layering until you fill the pan (leave just a little room on top so it doesn't bubble over and burn the bottom of the oven) Always end with the mozzarella and Parmesan on top

Bake in 350º oven for about 40-45 mins. Remove from oven and let it rest 5 or 10 mins. before you start to serve (it's less likely to be runny if you let it rest a few mins.) Serve with some nice crusty artisan bread or garlic bread The bread is best if you warm it up a few minutes in a hot oven 400º for about 10 mins. prior to serving. This brings back the nice crust and it is still moist and tender inside.

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