Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

Q: What do you get when you add leftover pasta sauce, a half wheel of goat cheese and an eggplant? A: Improvised Eggplant Parmesan!

This is Martha's, but mine looked just as delish!

Living at my parents' for two months while the repairs were being done on our condo left our larder in worse shape than ever. True, we never have a particularly full fridge - we're the 'shop per meal' types - but in our absence we were left with nothing but the following: condiments (including a fabulous selection of mustard), a lonely potato, three half-eaten bags of rice and a can of escargot (which we will never use, but haven't the heart to part with). We slowly added to this motley crew a jar of pasta sauce, onion and garlic used for linguine last week, some cheeses from our date-night picnic and a carton of eggs.

When I went to the market on Sunday to pick up some 'essential' produce I couldn't leave without a big purple eggplant that was calling my name. Chris was confused as to what we'd do with it (see: above contents of fridge and cupboards) but on the walk home I got totally inspired and decided we could make a version of Eggplant Parmesan. Using Martha's easy recipe as a guide, this is what we came up with:

Improvised Eggplant Parmesan

Serves two plus leftovers

1 egg
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs (made from multiple heels of leftover bread that live in our freezer)
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano* cheese, grated
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper
1 large eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups pasta sauce
1/2 cup Chevre cheese

*I use Pecorino because it's made with sheep's rather than cow's milk, which I have a sensitivity to.

Preheat oven to 375. Brush a roasting pan with olive oil and set aside. In a bowl whisk together egg with 1 tbsp water. In another bowl combine breadcrumbs, pecorino, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Dip sliced eggplant into egg mixture first, shaking off excess, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Place in a single layer on the oiled roasting pan. Bake eggplant for 15 minutes or until brown on the bottom, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Add a splash of wine if you have it on hand and allow the wine to reduce. Add pasta sauce to onions and turn the mixture to low while the eggplant bakes. Blend with a hand blender if desired.

Once eggplant is done, coat the bottom of a casserole with sauce and add a single layer of eggplant. Cover the eggplant with sauce and repeat with the remaining eggplant and sauce. Top with goat cheese and a little more grated pecorino. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Slice and serve with a green veggie of your choice (we had steamed green beans). Totally yum!

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