eggplant parmesan

20 Feb

Grandma Pepitone’s Eggplant Parm
(serves 4; serves 6 if also serving spaghetti)

1 lg eggplant
2 cans crushed tomotoes
2 med cloves garlic
peccorino-romano cheese (to taste)
1/2 med yellow onion
salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves (dried)
2 eggs
breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil

Prepare eggs in a shallow bowl by lightly whisking them, adding pinch
of salt. Add breadcrumbs to a second shallow bowl, shaving in some
peccorino cheese. Wash eggplant. Cut off ends/stems. Cut eggplant into
1/2″ thick pieces (could be wide strips, or rounds, or both – you have
to fry it all, so the larger the pieces, the easier it will be to fry
everything.) Dunk each piece in the egg, turning over to cover both
sides, and then drench with breadcrumbs. Prepare all eggplant at once.
Set aside. Heat frying pan (I usually have more than one going) on
med-high heat. Once pan is hot (making sure the oil is hot enough
before adding the eggplant will make them crispy instead of soggy),
add vegetable oil and olive oil at 1:1 ratio. Although the oil
shouldn’t cover the eggplant, there should be more than a thin layer
of oil at the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is very hot, begin
frying the eggplant. This doesn’t take very long (less time than
chicken). Don’t leave the kitchen or try to get any major vacuuming
done. Prepare the sauce (marinara):

Mince two medium sized cloves of garlic. Set aside. Dice 1/3rd to 1/2
medium sized yellow onion. (Check the eggplant. If it’s nice and
brown,  then turn over and very lightly salt. If not brown, let fry
for another minute or so.) Heat up 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil in dutch oven
at medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes  -being
careful not to burn the garlic – until the onions are clear. Once the
onions are clear, add 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, and an extra 3/4 can
of water per can of toms. Add the bay leaves, pinch or two of salt,
tsp of sugar. Simmer to taste, stirring regularly, about an hour
uncovered.

By now the eggplant is brown on both sides. Remove from pan, placing
eggplant in a single layer on plates covered in paper towels to absorb
any excess oil. Set aside.

Once sauce is done to taste, ladle marinara into a deep corning wear
dish (for one eggplant, a 7″ round works). Add a layer of eggplant
onto the sauce, then shave peccorino onto the eggplant. Repeat until
dish is full or you are almost out of eggplant. Add final layer of
eggplant and cheese (leave top dry). Set aside until ready to eat.
Bake at 275 for about 25 minutes. Serve alone with bread and salad, or
with pasta.

***NOTE: If done correctly, the fried eggplant will be crispy, brown
and lightly salted – perfect for snacking or for a sandwich with mayo.
So maybe make more than you think you’ll need, or make it while no one
else is home.***

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