I really love food, but I especially love recipes that take me back. In an attempt to be more conscientious of how I fuel this movement machine, I try to balance healthy with delicious so I’m not feeling too deprived. I find taking the time to make something indulgent from scratch takes a little more planning, but usually tastes a little better and just makes you feel good. It’s like a hug, from your mom 🙂 The recipe I’m going to share with you today will take you back to a time when you had something unexpectedly good. Even if you don’t “think” you like eggplant, I dare you to try this recipe. It’s really great, easy to prepare, and quite versatile.
I’ve been (mostly) vegetarian for five-ish years now and I will be honest, there are some things on the savory end of the spectrum that I miss. When I have a hankering for crispy, salty, cheesey something, this is my go-to.This recipe is crunchy, savory, and satisfyingly simple. Please enjoy my take on my mom’s eggplant parmesan:
note: if they are big bulbous ones, remove the skin and cut into half-inch rounds. if they are skinny, just slice in half, long-wise, if they are the little golfball sized ones, they are too cute for this recipe and you should just roast them whole 🙂
**the following ingredients are for roughly 2 portions so multiply as needed for the number of servings you need.**
1/4 cup milk
1/4 c of parsely
1/2 c plain breadcrumbs
several shakes of crushed red pepper flakes
shredded cheese for sprinklin’ (any kind of melty cheese would work: parmesan, cheddar, havarti, mozzarella, whatever you have on hand)
Start by peeling the skin from the eggplant. If you like the skin, you can leave it on. I don’t mind it, but the egg and breadcrumbs will stick better if you remove it. Then slice it up; rounds, long strips, whatever. Once you have it peeled and sliced; salt both sides and press it between paper towels for at least 25 minute. You can use a heavy skillet weighted down with cans or something of the like to press. If you have time, you can “press” it for up to an hour; the more water you will remove and the crispier it will get.
While the eggplants are getting “pressed”, preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Lightly beat the egg and combine with the milk and half the parsley. Season with pepper if you like, but no salt since the eggplants will have some residual salt from the pressing. Add the crushed red pepper and remaining parsley to the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
Next, wipe away the salt from the eggplant. They will have released a good amount of moisture, so just try and get them as dry as possible. Now set up your little assembly line. This is mom’s influence. She always says that you need to try and keep one hand clean when you’re doing a coating like this so you can access things you need without getting breading all over the place. She’s a smarty pants, that one. Anyway the order is as follows: eggwash, breadcrumbs, lightly olive-oiled baking sheet. And so it goes, dip your eggplants one by one into each mixture to lightly coat.
Once your sheet is full, throw them in the oven for about 15-20min. When you take them out the bottoms should be golden brown. Flip those little nuggets of yum over and bake on the other side for about 5-8minutes. Then add some cheese to the top. Try not to get carried away, all though it’s easy to do, and bake for another 2-3min or until the cheese is melty and golden on top.
Voila! This is it. It’s up to you from here. Maybe you dunk ’em in marinara like you would a cheesestick? Load them into a toasty naan with hummus and lettuce? Serve as a side item with some sauteed kale and navy beans…The possibilities are vast! Enjoy 🙂
with love, light, and blessings,