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Dine In: Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant ParmesanIt’s Mother’s Day weekend, so for at least one meal over the next three days, I would like one of my favorites (just saying, to anyone who might be reading this).

Growing up, eggplant parmesan was one of my favorite dishes. It was often requested as a birthday or special occasion dinner.

Never mind that my mom initially tricked us into liking eggplant, cutting it in wedges and frying it.

“Oh, they’re french fries,” she’d say.

I don’t remember if I believed her or not, but I did love eggplant no matter how she cooked it, ESPECIALLY with red sauce and cheese on top.

Growing up, I realized that you didn’t really have to fry the eggplant to make a delicious parmesan dish. Besides, too many people don’t fry correctly and the eggplant becomes soggy with grease (I know this because I try it in almost every new Italian restaurant I discover). So, this is a lightened-up version, and it would taste delicious tonight (again, just saying, in case anyone I know is reading this).

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

Eggplant:
2 egg whites from large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbs water
2 cups panko
1/4 cup (1 oz) fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 (1 lb) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
cooking spray

Filling:
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
1/4 cup (1 oz) fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 (16 oz) ctn part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Topping:
1 (24 oz) jar premium pasta sauce (or homemade)
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (3 oz) fontina cheese, finely grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

To prepare eggplant, combine 2 egg whites and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant slices 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.

To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce. Spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 318, Fat: 15.1 g (8.2 g Saturated Fat, 2.7 g Monounsaturated Fat, 0.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat), Protein: 19.3 g, Carbohydrates: 26.8 g, Fiber: 4.8 g, Cholesterol: 99 mg, Iron: 1.6 mg, Sodium: 655 mg, Calcium: 365 mg

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

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