Do you have foods that you crave, but don't really like?
I crraaaaveee mozzarella sticks and their melty, cheesy, fried goodness. I order them a lot. I don't actually like them. I never do. I'm always disappointed when I order them. I order them, knowing I will be disappointed with them. I can't help it, I crave them.
I guess I crave the idea of them.
Eggplant is the same way for me.
They are so cool, eggplants. These big, squishy-ish, purple squash-like things. They feel hollow. How could you not love them?
I guess I don't. I crave
I drive around town, going to [literally] five different grocery stores looking for them.
I buy them, and make a simple, beautiful dish.
And hate it.
Every. Single. Bite.
I'm not selling you on this meal, am I? The Boo liked it though, I promise. He loved it, in fact.
If you like eggplant, you'll like this dish.
If you like eggplant parmesan, you'll like this dish.
If you like a combination of eggplant, cheese, and tomatoes, you'll really like this dish.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
adapted from here.What You Will Need:
1 onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes w/ garlic, undrained
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg whites
1 cup breadcrumbs
6 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
6 large, fresh basil leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried basil)
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried oregano, dried parsley, & dried thyme
This Is How It's Done:
Friends, meet the newest cast member of Veggie Tales...
|*Please disregard my quick, horrible Photoshop skills (or lack thereof)|
Tom, the Eggplant.
I just realized that this is going to get incredibly morbid, incredibly quickly.
The first step is to cut
Tom the eggplant into 1/2 inch wide slices, then pour salt in his wounds coat the slices liberally with salt. Put them in a strainer (in the sink, or in another bowl/on a plate) and let them sit for 30-ish minutes.
The salt will draw all the moisture from the slices so they won't get soggy later when they are baked.
While the eggplant is dehydrating, you can get started on the sauce...
...And I can show you my new pot.
Isn't she pretty? She looks really pretty on my stove.
(She looks prettier with her top on, but I forgot to get to that. I will, eventually. Pinky promise.)
That's where she lives. On my stove...whether I'm using her or not.
The Boo got her for me as a graduation present.
Did I mention I finished school? I did. I'm done. Finished. Finito.
Sorry, sorry...Back to this meal...
Heat a pot on medium high heat.
Once the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, this only takes a few seconds, add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Stir them for about 10 seconds.
Don't let them burn.
They will burn.
Add the finely chopped onion.
Saute the onion until softened, 5-10 minutes.
Add the 2 cans of tomatoes.
Don't drain them.
(This is what the can looks like--so you can find it easier.)
Add in the garlic powder, and herbs here.
If you like things really flavorful, you can add more.I did.
I also added dried basil (2 tablespoons) here, because I didn't have any fresh basil leaves.
Just don't add any salt yet. We'll add that later. If you add it too early it will become too salty because the liquid will evaporate and the flavor will be more concentrated.
Let the tomatoes stew until the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.
Next, I sliced up the fresh mozzarella.
Then, I set up my breading station.
The standard breading procedure is dry, wet, dry.
Remember that. Dry. Wet. Dry.
In this case its flour (dry), egg whites (wet), bread crumbs (dry).
A note about breadcrumbs. I buy unseasoned, that way I can season them myself to whatever I like. I like to control my flavors.
So, if you're also using unseasoned breadcrumbs, now is the time to add seasonings.
I added salt (1 teaspoon), pepper (1/2 teaspoon), dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, and dried parsley (1/4 teaspoon of each).
Then I added about 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.
And mixed everything in really well.
By this time, the eggplant slices have been draining for about a half hour.
Rinse them off really well with water.
Then pat them dry with paper towel.
Now, we bread them, using the standard breading procedure.
How's that go again?
Dry. Wet. Dry.
Coat them in flour.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Bake them 10 minutes, flip them, and bake another 10 minutes.
When they are done, they wont look too much different than when you put them in. They wont really be browned, just a little less dense.
Taste your tomato mixture--add salt if needed.
Layer tomato sauce on half of the eggplant slices.
Top with mozzarella.
The add a basil leaf. Grated parmesan. And top it with an eggplant hat.
Put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Then serve it immediately.
*I tossed the remaining tomato sauce with some pasta and served it with the eggplant.
Looks Yum, right?
OH! And it's healthy, too. Somewhere around 300 calories.
...I'm craving eggplant again....Uh-oh.