"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recipes–Quick Eggplant Parmesan

My aunt used to make the best eggplant parmesan ever.  She sliced the eggplant very thin, dipped it in egg, and fried each piece in an iron skillet until brown.  She prepared her all-day tomato sauce, and then later combined all together.  It was fabulous.

My mother wanted a shortcut, so never fried the eggplant and preferred a more ‘American’ style tomato sauce without my aunt’s true guinea olive oil-and-garlic, Mediterranean spices, and San Marzano tomatoes.  It came out watery and very tasteless.  Of course I had to say that I preferred hers, but drooled all the way down to New Haven in anticipation of my aunts divine dish.

What I have concocted here tastes very much like my aunt’s eggplant parmesan but without all the frying and all-day tomato sauce. I tried it for the first time tonight, and it is delicious.

I like the purple eggplant you can buy at the farmers market, but conventional eggplant is fine.  If you are using the smaller purple variety, you will need three.  Only one if you are using black conventional.

Quick Eggplant Parmesan

* 1 lg. eggplant, sliced thinly, leaving skin on

* 5 Tbsp. olive oil

* 1/2 can tomato paste

* 1 Tbsp. garlic flakes

* 1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves

* 2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves

* 10 leaves fresh basil

* 10 slices Conte, Gruyere, or Emmental

* 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan

* 2 tsp. sugar

- Put the tomato paste in a saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Stir well until mixed

- Add the garlic flakes, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, dried basil, sugar, and rosemary. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes or until relatively thick. Add more spices, salt, sugar to taste.

- Put 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium Pyrex dish, and smear to cover the bottom and sides

- Place one layer of eggplant slices on the bottom of the Pyrex

- Put half the tomato sauce over the eggplant

- Place half the cheese slices and half the grated parmesan on the eggplant slices

- Arrange half the fresh basil leaves on the sliced eggplant

- Repeat the process – eggplant, sauce, cheese, basil - ending up with the cheese on top

- Bake covered for 30 minutes; then another 30 uncovered until the cheese has melted and the eggplant is slightly browned

- Serve

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