Monday, 6 October 2008

Eggplant Parmesan with Crisp Bread Crumb Topping

We are big on cheese, hubby and I. We always have cheddar, mozzarella, blue, feta, Parmesan and cream cheese on hand at all times. Others we buy special for recipes and other occasions.
Italian would have to be my go-to cuisine for family comfort zone. The Italians do cheese right.

This week in Magazine Mondays I made the Eggplant Parmesan with Crisp Bread Crumb Topping from Food and Wine magazine. It is a classic dish, layered much like a lasagna but without the noodles. Between the heartiness of the eggplant and the richness of the cheese, this makes a wonderfully satisfying dish. I used Panko breadcrumbs on top, their light crispy texture makes a great foil for the tangy sauce and cheesy filling. If you can't find Panko, regular breadcrumbs will be fine.

I halved this recipe and baked it in a deep dish pie plate - I left the amounts of the garlic and basil the same though - I love garlic and basil. We served it with grilled sausages and leftover pasta. Tomorrow I will be serving the leftovers with a Caesar salad and rolls. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan with Crisp Bread Crumb Topping - Food and Wine, October 2008

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus about 2 cups for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
Two 28-ounce cans whole, peeled Italian tomatoes, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 small eggplants ( 1/2 pound each), cut lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil
1 pound lightly salted fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and torn into small pieces
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

In a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Using your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 25 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil. Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Working in several batches, cook the eggplant over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes per batch; add more olive oil to the skillet between batches. Drain the eggplant slices on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange one-third of the fried eggplant slices in the baking dish and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the chopped basil. Top with one-third of the torn mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat this layering twice. Sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the top of the eggplant Parmesan. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the top of the eggplant Parmesan is golden and the tomato sauce is bubbling. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Magazine Mondays was created by Cream Puffs in Venice as a way to make sure us foodies are cooking from all of these bookmarked recipes! Are you a foodie magazine addict? Click here to find out how to join us. Haven't been to Cream Puffs in Venice in a while? Check out what amazing treats this lovely lady has been baking this week.