Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here ya go, V of F


2-1/2 lbs. medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
A roll of paper towels (very important)
Salt for sweatin’… and stuff
Black pepper, white pepper… whatever kind you like. I use both.

1-1/2 cup olive oil (I s'pose you can use whatever kind of oil you want... but I wouldn't use peanut...)
1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs
3-1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan (~2 oz.) > I *always* use more
1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced > Yep, usually go overboard on this too…
Tomato sauce (separate recipe to follow)

1. Salt both sides of eggplant slices and sweat between paper towels for at least a half hour (you’ll have two or three layers, probably). I then usually put a chopping board on top of them along with some cookbooks or other weighty items to aid in this lovely process, but you don’t have to.

1.5. Go drink some wine at this point.

2. Come back eventually and rinse the salt from the eggplant. And, once again, put between paper towels to dry.

3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, salt and pepper (to taste… or eyeball, because you don’t really want to taste flour do you?) in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, and stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan in a third shallow bowl.

*4. Working with one slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer until done. (*Have single sheets of the paper towels ready at this point because you’re gonna need ‘em. The Rolling Stones got nothin’ on these sticky fingers.)

4.5. My this is exhausting. Take a load off before you start frying… have some more wine.

5. Heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain. (You may wish to disable your smoke detector before this step).

6. Spread about a cup of tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3-1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in one layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with more sauce (eyeball it) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with more Parmesan.

7. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes.

7.5. Drink more wine but don’t forget you’ve slaved over this and end up burning it. Use paper towels as napkins. After all, why not?

And now, for the sauce...


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper, plus more to taste
2 - 32 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high flame. Add onion and garlic; saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves; simmer uncovered on low heat until the sauce thickens, about one hour. Remove bay leaves; season sauce with more S & P to taste.

Easy, peasy, Japaneezy… Dicing up the mirepoix is the hardest thing about this recipe… and it’s not that hard. And I know it sounds really boring, but this sauce is superb!! I got it from one of Giada DeLaurentis’ cookbooks. I always always always add more garlic, and what’s a sauce without basil? Anyway, it’s good as is, but it’s fun to dress it up, too. And, gee whillickers, it goes GREAT with my paper towel recipe.


Thanks Cootera!
I'm going to try this soon, as soon as it cools down in my kitchen a little. Last week it was in the upper nineties, but now it's back to cooler Seattle temps, so I can cook again!!
V of F
I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. When making the sauce for this, I like to add crushed red pepper, too, just to give the eggplant more of a kick.

And what I wouldn't give right now for some cool weather. It's too hot here to even lie in the hammock...
yum! what time is dinner?
Head (mid)west, Limey, and I'll make it for you!
Ah, those look like good recipes. And of course, you didn't forget the magic ingredient, the wine. You can even and some to the cooking if you like.

Your sauce is much like what I make. Although I'm more of the toss stuff in, taste, then toss some more stuff in type. And of course, you can never add too much oregano to sauce.
Vince, I think the secret ingredient to all good food is wine... whether it goes in the recipe or not! But I have to disagree on the oregano. I'm of the ilk that there's no such thing as too much basil or garlic, but if I eat stuff with too much oregano or rosemary, the ol' taste buds revolt. Sigh...
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