Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Best Eggplant Parmesan

I recently got an email from Taste of Home with an Eggplant Parmesan that looked out of this world.  My garden is screaming with eggplants, tomatoes, basil etc... so I decided to make it.   The kids were all going out, so my husband invited some friends over for a cool evening patio dinner by the fire (always makes me a bit nervous serving something new that I have not tried yet, when guests are coming).  It was a hit!  Everyone loved it, raving it was the best eggplant parmesan they ever had (living up to its name). 

This picture is from Taste Of Home. I should have taken a picture of mine, it looked just as good, but I had company and don't think taking pics of my food would look too normal lol !  Especially because they were hungry!  I promise, if you make this, it will look this good! 
UPDATE:  I added my own pic below of the leftovers the next day. 

It is put together, almost like a lasagna.

Of course, I added my own bling to the recipe, because that is how I roll.  The changes I made are in Red. I left her recipe in tact, in case you want to make it her way or add your own bling. 

The Best Eggplant Parmesan
Recipe by Dottie Kilpatrick, with some minor changes by me

16 ServingsPrep: 1-1/4 hours Bake: 35 min. + standing


3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil Grapeseed oil
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes  56 ounces of freshed tomatoes, food processed for a whirl or two
1 cup pitted ripe olives, chopped I used green spanish olives from a jar, minced in food processor
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups dry bread crumbs 
I used way more than 3 cups, and I used panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
for each 3 cup of panko bread crumbs I used 2 T garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 small eggplants (about 1 pound each), peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
We used Large
1 cup olive oil
again we use grapeseed oil
Heating olive oil in our house is taboo! 
Heat destroys olive oil.

2 eggs, beaten
2 cartons (15 ounces each) ricotta cheese
I used about 32 ounces of my own homemade ricotta cheese (easy to make) 

Click here to find out more!
 1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 cups (32 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese divided
 1-1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Keep the shaker out, I went crazy with the Parm!
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tsp of cinnamon

 A few dashes of oregano


I "minced" the garlic and olives in the food processor (separately). 

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook garlic in oil for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes, olives, basil, capers, pepper flakes and
pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45-60
minutes or until thickened.

In a pressure cooker, on the vegetable  setting with the lid off..saute the garlic for 1 minutes in the grapeseed oil. Dump in the rest of the sauce ingredients and place lid on. Cook on Vegetable setting for five minutes..that's done!

Meanwhile, for eggplant, place flour and eggs in separate shallow
bowls. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and
oregano. Dip eggplant in the flour, eggs, then bread crumb mixture.

In a large skillet, cook eggplant in batches in oil for 5 minutes on
each side or until tender. Drain on paper towels. In a large bowl,
combine the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and

In a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, and 1-1/2 cups parmesan cheese (yes, I said it, just do it).  I also added 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Its my secret bling in any dish with tomato sauce and or ricotta cheese, people aren't quite sure what it is, but they love it.  My son's friends can pick it out now, they love it!  I don't add it to both sauce and cheese in the same recipe though, as not to over power the dish with cinnamon.  I chose the Ricotta cheese over the sauce because it really makes ricotta cheese shine. 

In each of two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes, layer 1-1/2 cups
tomato sauce, four eggplant slices, 1 cup ricotta mixture and 2 cups
mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle each with remaining
Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or
until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. 
I used a cookie scoop to put the ricotta mixture on the eggplant and used my hands to pat it down to cover the eggplant with it.  I almost made these like a sandwich in the baking pan, eggplant, cheese, mozz, eggplant, cheese, mozz.  Parmesan and then a little oregano on top. 

Yield: 2 casseroles
 (8 servings each).
This served 6 hungry adults with enough for maybe two more people, but most recipes don't really serve what they say they do, I guess for calorie reasons, to make it look like less calories.  (We also served about Chile Rellanos to our guests as an appetizer so it's not like they were starving)  I know, weird combo, but we have a garden screaming to be used and the guests loved both dishes!
So the nutritional info here may have to be doubled! Ah!  Close your eyes for the last part of this blog post!

Nutrition Facts: 1 piece equals 562 calories, 38 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 138 mg cholesterol, 778 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 29 g protein. 

UPDATE:  I made some leftovers for lunch, and I decided to snap a pic.  Nothing fancy, just nuked and in a plain old bowl. Click to enlarge...hungry yet?



Mom's Cafe Home Cooking said...

That does look quite delicious. I will have to try making this dish as eggplant hasn't been something I've done a lot with. I had to laugh at not wanting to take pictures of your food. My family and friends know that the food can't be touched until it has had its photoshoot :) I take pictures of food all the time regardless of where I at. Folks get used to it - LOL!

Margarita Stewart aka Shannon Marie said...

Thanks, I do take pics at times..but my kids think I lost my mind when they see me doing it lol.