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Old June 18, 2018   #62
TomNJ's Avatar
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Floyd VA
Posts: 748

I make a fast, easy, and clean Eggplant Parmesan that we feel taste much better the traditional breaded and fried dish. The traditional method makes such a mess from the breading and frying, and the eggplant absorbs the oil like a sponge, thus losing most of its natural flavor and taking on a cooked flavor. My method retains the eggplant taste along with the olive oil flavor without the mess.

I take two very large or three medium eggplants, peel the skins off with a potato peeler, and slice them into 1/4" thick slices. The slices are then quickly dipped in extra virgin olive oil, one side only, shaken to remove excess oil, and stacked spread out on a large platter, oil side up. The platter is then microwaved until the slices are very soft, about 15-20 minutes.

While the eggplant is cooking I brown one pound of lean ground beef, chopped fine, and add it to one quart of tomato sauce. This is simmered for about 15 minutes.

While the beef is simmering I cut three 8 oz balls of fresh mozzarella cheese into thin slices, and bring out some grated Parmesan cheese and basil.

The dish is then assembled in a large casserole dish, layering eggplant slices, beef in sauce, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and basil. I can usually get 3-4 layers in the dish. Since the dish is assembled hot it just require a short heating to make sure all of the mozzarella cheese is melted, usually 15 minutes in the microwave.

Sometimes the dish will have a fair amount of juice when freshly cooked. If there is enough I pour the juice off and it makes a wonderful soup, either as is or added to a cream of tomato soup. Most excess juice tends to reabsorb after a day in the fridge.
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