An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook

2.16.2011

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

An eggplant jumped into my shopping cart the other day.  Upon getting to know me, you will quickly realize that I wear purple in some form pretty frequently.  You know how your eyes open just a little bit wider when you see something you like...it could be a person, or a window display of cupcakes or a colorful sunset.  Well that is how I feel about purple, and bright turquoise lately.  I was never a huge fan of eggplant, until about six months ago.  And now I think of it fairly often...especially in the grocery store on Monday.



The picture above is the final product of what the eggplant so willingly provided.  I decided to make a healthy version of eggplant parmesan.  I roasted the slices with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then pulled them out, flipped them over and coated with oil, salt and pepper again.  Roasted.  Then put a very thin slice of gouda cheese and cooked a little bit longer.  So this is technically 'Eggplant Gouda', but I will stick with the original name, for traditional sake.  I used a bed of red sauce and a sprinkling of dried parsley for the base.  Voila...dinner is served. 

A quick warning for you all: the recipe below is going to be a little different than usual.  I will do a step by step action of how I prepared the eggplant.  I used to be intimidated by cooking them, or even how to possibly take the weird sponginess out of them.  The steps below made quite a nice, tender result.


Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
Yields 2 servings

1/2 large (or 1 medium sized) eggplant, sliced into thin or medium/thin slices 
Salt
Olive oil
Pepper
Cheese (gouda, parmesan or whatever you have on hand), either thinly mandolined, shredded or pre-sliced


Red sauce (like Pizza Stone Extravaganza posting in January or a good jarred variety)




Step 1:  Slice the eggplant in thin to medium/thin slices.  Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat.  Sprinkle generously with salt.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (This step draws out a ton of moisture from the eggplant, making them much easier to cook.)  Below is a picture of the water seeping out of the slices.



Step 2: After 30 minutes, wipe the excess water off the slices with a towel or paper towel.  Flip them over and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for another 30 minutes.  (When there are about 15 minutes left, preheat oven to 425 degrees.)

Step 3: Wipe the excess water off the slices.  Put a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper on each slice and bake for 15 minutes.  I put the olive oil in a spoon, poured some out on the eggplant, and then used the back of the spoon to spread it around.  The picture below is right after 15 minutes of baking.



Step 4: Take out of oven.  Flip each slice over.  Cover with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove when they look almost done.  Meanwhile, heat up sauce.  (I used some frozen leftover sauce from the Pizza Stone Extravaganza in January...feel free to whip some up.  Or use your favorite jarred variety.)

Step 5:  Slice very thin pieces of your favorite cheese: parmesan, gouda, or whatever you have on hand.  I used a mandoline on a thin setting.  You could also shred the cheese.  Or use a pre-sliced variety.  But a little bit goes a long way on these eggplant.  Put a thin slice of cheese (or thin layer of shredded) on each slice.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes...until nicely browned.



 Step 6:  Ladle a generous portion of red sauce onto a plate.  Layer 4-5 slices of eggplant on top of sauce.  You can also add pasta if you want.  Sprinkle dried parsley.  Dive in immediately. 



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