Eggplant Parmesan with a sweet surprise ending!

A good friend of mine recently had her first baby, so I thought of bringing her dinner one night as we all well know how the first few weeks of a new arrival literally turns one’s world upside down.  Since I know she favors vegetarian meals, I thought an Eggplant Parmesan dish would fit the ticket.  I love eggplant dishes myself, so set about trying to find some fresh ingredients at the local market together with some fresh basil from the garden.   This is a no-fry variation of the popular dish and re-created from 2 different recipes (All Recipes & Epicurious).  There’s a gorgeous, sweet surprise at the end of this recipe :))

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Ingredients – makes 8 servings

3 eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced (I’ve left the skin on on some occasions for a striking color)

2 eggs beaten

3 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese)

Large plum tomatoes – (I used about 7 and mixed it with some canned crushed tomatoes that I had in the pantry)

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

15 fresh basil leaves, torn in half

Salt and  black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 3/4 cup)

1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced

Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

While eggplant drains, cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes together in a 5-quart pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

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I added onion and mushroom to my sauce, the recipe did not call for it.

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I added oregano, italian seasoning and dried basil leaves to the sauce – the recipe did not call for it.

Stir together flour,  1/4 teaspoon salt, and  1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

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Surprise!!! A double yolk, how cool is that!

IMG_0929 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.

IMG_0932Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 1 1/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven 350 degrees.

IMG_0937And now for the sweet surprise :).  Here’s my friend’s bundle of joy, isn’t she just precious in that wee basket?  I did knit the baby blanket and was so happy to see that it was showcased in some of the baby portraits that were taken at the hospital.

photoI’m bringing this dish to Angie’s Fiesta Friday 4th of July celebration – No patriotic colors here but I do hope everyone enjoys this very special holiday and stays safe.  Thanks to our co-hosts Margy and Sylvia too for running this party.   http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/fiesta-friday-23happy-4th-of-july/

40 comments

  1. I bet your friend was excited to receive this dish. It’s absolutely beautiful. I always mix and match recipes, and I’m so glad yours came out well. I loved the surprise at the end. So cute! Happy Fiesta Friday!

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    1. Thanks Vidya. Yes, the baby is definitely adorable, and thanks for the compliments on the baby blanket. It does look lovely in the moses basket doesn’t it?

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  2. When you become famous, will you autograph your recipe book for me, or will I be forgotten? This dish looks as appealing as I’ll bet it tastes and smells! Loving your style of writing and blogging and pictures as you cook….thanks for sharing ! I see the multi-talents coming through at the end- nice blanket and cute baby!

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    1. Oh my Ms. Sue, my blog partner and friend….first of all, I will never be famous, and secondly how could I ever forget you. You inspire me in so many different areas, you have no idea. Thanks for the encouragement on blogging, I am only a rookie, but enjoying it at best! WordPress puts out a stats page, it excites me to know how my blog is reaching so many parts of the world, there is a breakdown on the stats page letting you know which countries are reading your blog 🙂

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  3. I also love Eggplants, Loretta. And for sure, I would love this dish.
    The baby blanket looks perfect for that precious little one. How sweet of you. 🙂

    PS: I am missing your emails. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Happy FF23. ❤

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    1. Thanks Jhuls – eggplants are so versatile aren’t they? I love them baked most of all. The baby is lovely, and looks so precious in that basket doesn’t she? Yes, we must get the emails rolling again. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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  4. Loretta, Not only are you a talented cook, but you also knit well. A beautiful baby!
    Loving eggplants, I always wanted to try a great eggplant parmesan. I shall try this while it is the season eggplants are best.

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    1. Oh you are so kind Fae, thanks. I do enjoy working with my hands. Yes, it’s definitely eggplant season – my one tip to you though would be NOT to dip them in the breadcrumbs, it didn’t taste any different, and definitely will cut down on the calories. Let me know if you try it. Thanks again for that sweet compliment. 🙂

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  5. Eggplants parmesan, I couldn’t ask more!!! I LOVE this recipe, one of the best way to enjoy eggplants! And about the baby… she’s soooo cute, I love the picture your friend took and your blanket look even more cute in that basket!

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    1. Yes, ’tis the season, so many great dishes with eggplants. Thanks for the compliments, the baby is lovely! Glad I brought her to the party for everyone to see 🙂

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  6. What an awesome post! I just love your recipe and I couldn’t stop ahhh-ing over the little bundle of joy! Just so sweet! Beautiful blanket you made too! So much loveliness in one post! 😀

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  7. What a delicious recipe Loretta! All the ingredients used and the preparation method go so well with eggplant, I absolutely love eggplants! And as for the sweet ending, oh, how sweet she is indeed, so precious! Thanks for sharing this lovely picture and bringing this mouthwatering recipe to the Fiesta! Hope you had a great time there partying with everyone! 😉 Sylvia

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    1. Yes Sylvia I really did enjoy all the presentations, thanks to you too for co-hosting, no small feat I’ll have to admit :). Thanks for all your comments, eggplants are pretty versatile, and at this time of year, there’s just an array of recipes that pop to mind. The little darling was precious too, and I’m sure glad I brought her to the party, she lit up the post and definitely was the highlight. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Arl, thanks so much for visiting, I do love knitting and have picked it up again after a huge hiatus (when my girls were younger). Yes, it does look so comfy with the precious angel on it. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I think she really appreciated it and I was so fortunate to be able to present her to Fiesta Friday, I think she was definitely the * 🙂

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  8. Thanks for sharing another great recipe… looks delicious! Definetly will be adding this to my meal planning for the week. Thanks!

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