Eggplant Parmesan- my second most loved recipe.
I am giving up all my best recipes way too soon. Let’s hope I start creating new best recipes!
I ate this the once many, many years ago at a restaurant in Sacramento. I love egg plant parmesan despite the fact egg plant makes my mouth itch. So, it was a no brainer when I looked at the menu and saw eggplant parmesan. What came to the table was not the traditional, breaded eggplant doused in marinara sauce baked in the oven with mozarella on top. I got something very different, 3 slices of battered and deep fried eggplant stacked on top of each other with thin layers of goat cheese in between with dollops of red and green pesto. It was divine!
After getting my sea legs in the kitchen I pulled that memory out of my head and recreated that dish to the best of my ability. It is one of my most pleaded for dishes.
Recipe serves 4
1 Large Eggplant
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
2-3 TBS Flour
2-3 TBS Parmesan grated finely
Garlic or Herb Salt
1 TBS Parsley dried or fresh finely chopped
1 Cup Cremé Fraiche
2 tbs Pesto red or green or both
4 Slices of goat cheese sliced thinly. I prefer to use spreadable goat cheese as it has a more subtle flavor.
This is an oven baked eggplant which is easier and better for you than the deep fried version. It gives a perfect result.
You first need to prepare your eggplant. Slice it 1,5 cm thick and salt both sides and leave to sit for 30 mins or so. This takes the bitterness out of the eggplant. In the mean time prepare your breadcrumbs and batter.
1 Cup/2,5 dl Creme Fraiche
Mix this together in a bowl.
Add the garlic salt, parmesan cheese and parsley. Mix and put on a flat plate to coat the eggplant.
I think the goat cheese can be too strong so I use a spreadable goat cheese. Alternatively you can mix a bit of the traditional goat cheese with a bit of the cream fresh to make your own spread. (What the heck is cream fresh? Speaking 2 languages interchangeably makes for literal translations that make no sense. I meant Cremé Fraiche.)
Slice the goat cheese in a thin layer. If you don’t have a wire cheese slicer use dental floss. Wrap it around the cheese at the desired thickness, cross the floss and keep pulling until you have cut through the cheese. See Below.
Rinse your eggplant and pat dry. Have your flour on a plate. Roll your eggplant slices in the flour making sure not to forget the purple skin. Then with a fork dip the floured slice in the batter cover evenly and let the excess drip off. Roll in bread crumbs, don’t forget the edges. Put your battered eggplant slices in a baking pan greased with a generous amount of olive oil, alternatively cooking oil. Bake in the oven on 400F/200C for approx. 20 minutes turning half way through so that both sides get crunchy. You want the eggplant to retain it’s firmness so don’t over bake.
When they are finished baking you are going to make something of a sandwich out of them. Start with a bottom slice of eggplant. On top of that add the goat cheese and a dollop of pesto. Put the second slice of eggplant on top of that and add an additional dollop of pesto to the top. There you are! A tiny tower of scrumptious.
You can serve this alone or surrounded by a simple pasta with say some steamed asparagus. I make the pasta sauce out of whatever I have at home and boil the pasta while the eggplant is baking in the oven.
Hint: You can use the battered eggplant to make a traditional eggplant parmesan. First bake your eggplant then pour a marinara sauce, preferably homemade, over and top with a generous portion of shredded mozzarella and bake again until the mozzarella is nice and bubbly. Serve with garlic bread.