Parmigiana di melanzane-Eggplant Parmesan

For dinner tonight, we made a baked eggplant parmesan and roasted brussels sprouts. The method we used was a composite method from trawling the web for parmesan recipes, but we were quite pleased with the results. Just a note: this recipe takes several stages over several hours, so be prepared.

Ingredients
3-4 large eggplant (we used 6 small-medium eggplants)
4 eggs
Flour, for dredging
Breadcrumbs, for dredging
Tomato Sauce (we used the standard puree-based recipe found earlier on the blog)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan (we used a Grana Padano)

Method
Cut tops off of eggplants and slice lengthwise into 1/4″ slivers. Set a colander in a bowl, and layer the eggplant slices, dusted with a considerable amount of salt, in the colander. Place an inverted plate over the eggplant and place a heavy weight on top of it (we used an 8 lb and a 5 lb hand weight). Let drain for about an hour. While the eggplant is setting, you can go ahead and make your sauce, if you’re using homemade. After one hour, the eggplant should be pretty soft and limp. Rinse the slices with water, then pat them dry. Set up three bowl for your dredging stations, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the dried eggplant slices and dredge them through the flour, egg and seasoned breadcrumb mixtures, then place them on a baking tray that has been lined with foil and spritzed with cooking spray (we used olive oil). After you have filled the tray, spritz the top of the slices with more oil, then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping the slices after 10 minutes. This will probably take multiple trays. Let the eggplant cool slightly, then you can start building your dish. In a greased 9″x 13″ tray, spoon an thin layer of tomato sauce and evenly coat the bottom. Then spread an even layer of the eggplant into the dish. Sprinkle with 1/3rd of each cheese. Repeat the layers twice more, but on the final layer finish with the cheese on top. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until browned on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving-this will allow it to set enough to avoid the baked Italian red-sauce soup that can be typical of some lasagnas.

This resulted in a wonderfully flavorful and surprisingly filling main dish, and I look forward to making it again.

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