Worth Every Step
I bought a lovely, bright skinned eggplant at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market recently. My idea was to make an Eggplant Parmesan. But this is one of those recipes that takes more prep and cleanup time than I like to expend. Even so, I soldiered on.
I nearly gave up when I discovered I had no Mozzarella, only Cheddar, Jarlsberg, and a chunk of Parmesan. Still, I was not deterred. Here’s my kitchen escapade in photos . . .
Some Assembly Required
As I worked my way through the recipe, I noticed my condo counter was running out of space. When I counted the bowls, dishes and pans, I had more than a half dozen to handle the ingredients. There were 3 bowls for the egg, flour, and bread crumb mixtures. There was the skillet and baking dish to handle the slices. Had it not been for the homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, there would’ve been even more bowls to clean.
Oh, yes, I nearly forgot the bowl needed to “sweat” the eggplant. The process calls for you to slice, salt, and put the eggplant into a strainer over a bowl for a half hour (or more) to allow the bitter juices to drain. I think this makes a difference, but it does take more time and effort.
Making It Easy
I say all this not to talk you out of making Eggplant Parmesan. But there are corners you might want to cut:
- Make the tomato sauce in advance or use a good commercial variety such as Rao’s Marinara.
- Use Panko bread crumbs, though the homemade ones I concocted from dried sourdough bread gave a new dimension to the dish.
- Brown eggplant slices before baking to shorten oven time.
- Slice eggplant and cut Mozzarella into consistent size pieces for even cooking.
- Make the dish when you have an available sou chef to help with the peeling, slicing, sweating, breading, thawing, sautéing, and cleanup.
- Cook eggplant slices earlier in the day and refrigerate until ready to assemble and bake.