Sunday, October 30, 2011

E is for: Eggplant Parmesan {gluten free}

Eggplant is one of those foods where you either love it or you hate it. But if you happen to be one of the few on the fence, I urge you to try this recipe, and don't skip the salting step. It helps take some of the bitter taste away.

This is a healthier version of the traditional Eggplant Parmesan because you bake the eggplant pieces instead of frying them. Thanks to my friend Devon's cousin, Kara, for passing the recipe along. I actually made my own modifications based on similar versions I've made previously, and I think the combination turned out great!

The amounts I used in this recipe were perfect for a square baking dish. Feel free to increase the amounts to make them in a full-sized casserole dish if you're cooking for a crowd or want leftovers. Also, since I was making this for Devon who can't eat gluten, I used brown rice flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs. (By the way, we are planning an entire Gluten-free meal for "G" week!)



Slice eggplant into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices, arrange in a large colander over the sink, and sprinkle a little salt on each slice. You can even weigh them down with a plate and heavy cans to draw out maximum moisture. Let them drain for at least 30 minutes, then blot with paper towels, and brush off excess salt.

  
Breading the eggplant basically involves three "stations." A flour mixture, an egg wash, and a breading mixture. As you know by now, I love kitchen tools, so I felt it necessary to buy this set of trays from Williams-Sonoma for all of my recipes that call for breading. Normal egg washes use water, but I decided to use olive oil to help with the browning of the bread crumbs. Feel free to use water to make it a little healthier.


One at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs, shaking to remove excess. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 7-10 minutes on each side until golden brown. While these are baking, caramelize the onions, garlic, and mushrooms.


To assemble: coat baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil, and spread about a cup marinara sauce in the bottom. Layer half of eggplant slices over sauce. Top with about half of the onion mixture, 1 cup pasta sauce, and half of the mozzarella. If you're a pesto lover, add a layer of it in the middle and then repeat the rest of the layers once, and sprinkle with Parmesan.


Increase oven to 400 degrees. Bake, uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted. Garnish with basil and serve.  

Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant Parmesan
This healthier version of the classic dish bakes the eggplant slices to cut down on fat and calories.

Ingredients

1 large eggplant
1/2 cup flour (can use rice flour for gluten free, or omit)
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
2 teaspoons dried basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for caramelizing onions
1 cup bread crumbs (can use gluten free)
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
pesto, about 1/2 cup
3 cups marinara sauce (I used homemade that I had saved in freezer, but you could use a good quality jarred product too)
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
fresh basil leaves, chopped (for garnishing)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice eggplant into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices, arrange in a large colander over the sink, and sprinkle a little salt on each slice. You can even weigh them down with a plate and heavy cans to draw out maximum moisture. Let them drain for at least 30 minutes, then blot with paper towels, and brush off excess salt.

In a shallow dish, mix flour, salt and pepper, and 1 tsp. each of oregano and basil (crush dried herbs in palm of your hand to release oils). In another dish, whisk together 2 eggs and 2 T. olive oil. In third dish, mix together bread crumbs, 1/4 c. parmesan, the rest of the oregano and basil, garlic, and some more salt and pepper.

One at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs, shaking to remove excess. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 7-10 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Heat some olive oil in pan (enough to coat pan) and saute garlic, mushrooms, and onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes. (This is not part of typical eggplant parm, but I think it adds a really nice dimension to the layers).

To assemble: coat baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil, and spread about a cup marinara sauce in the bottom. Layer half of eggplant slices over sauce. Top with about half of the onions, 1 cup pasta sauce, and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layers once, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Increase oven to 400 degrees. Bake, uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with basil and serve.

Prep Time: 00:30
Cook time: 00:25
Tags: baked, breading trays, caramelized, eggplant, eggplant parmesan, gluten free, healthy, mozzarella, onion, salt, tomato sauce, Williams-Sonoma,


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1 comment:

  1. Jaymee,
    I love your blog. I have a similar recipe for Eggplant parmigiana, however I use a good quality Tomato Basil sauce(Muir Glen)and top each Eggplant with a thin slice of Proscuitto.
    Thanks,
    Greg Blake

    ReplyDelete

I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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