Eggplant parmesan with layers of fried eggplant, mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce isn’t the kind of dish a person can whip up in a time crunch. Or is it?
I have found a few tricks to speed up the preparation of my favorite eggplant parmesan recipe.
A lot of people think of eggplant parmesan as being fattening. It can be. But there are ways to cut the calories and the fat if you don’t mind sacrificing that authentic rich flavor.
To peel or not to peel
Some people prefer to peel the eggplant so that you don’t have the purple skin that is so beautiful. Other people leave the skin on. I lean toward the peeling side, but I only roughly peel my eggplant so you still get an occasional fleck of purple. I don’t think the sink is particularly tasty and it’s easy to choke on it if you are serving it to children.
Prepare the eggplant
I quickly peel the eggplant and then slice it up. By slicing it thinner, it takes less time to fry or bake. After slicing, I place the eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. I cover with more paper towels and stack extremely heavy books or other objects on top. Meanwhile, I heat up the olive oil. Olive oil is healthier, in my opinion, than using regular vegetable oil. I never use butter or margarine to fry eggplant.
Get the bowls ready
As the oil is heating up and the water is being soaked out of the eggplant, I place bread crumbs with parsley in a one bowl and two or three eggs in another bowl (whipped up with a fork). To save time, I quickly dip the eggplant into the egg and then the bread crumbs and place on a plate. Once the oil heats up, I start frying the eggplant.
Have lots of paper towels handy
After the eggplant is brown on both sides, I make sure it’s soft when you poke a fork through it. If it is, I transfer the eggplant to more paper towels to let the oil drip drain off.
Once the eggplant is fried, I cover with either a homemade spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce from the grocery store. The key is to make sure you sprinkle the sauce with parsley, basil and oregano if possible. The sauce can be the same as any favorite sauce you typically use.
Sprinkle with the best part
I sprinkle my eggplant parmesan with mozzarella, parmesan and sometimes havarti cheese, depending on what I have around the house. I then bake at 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes. It takes longer to reheat than it does to heat it up right away.
As far as a lighter version, just spray a baking pan with olive oil spray. Bake the breaded eggplant, flipping a few times throughout the baking process. Use lighter cheese and go easy on the pasta for a diet-friendly or light eggplant parmesan.
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