There Is A Season: No-muss eggplant parm as weather cools

  • The secret of good texture for this eggplant parm is a two-step baking process. MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 8/29/2020 11:57:46 AM

Summer is coming to an end. The sun is setting before 8 now, and this weekend we’re supposed to get a good soaking rain, which we need. Cooler, damp weather calls for comfort food, and for me that means eggplant parm.

This version, which skips the breading and frying, can be a weeknight meal. It can also be served room temperature, and it’s gluten-free.

Eggplant can be tricky. I’ve been cooking the same caponata recipe for over 15 years, and I have yet to nail the texture of the eggplant. But I think I have it figured out for eggplant parm.

The secret is to use your oven to roast the eggplant first, then layer on the other ingredients. This will ensure that each bite is a saucy delight, rather than tough and spongy.

And even though tomato season is still happening, I’m encouraging you to use your favorite jarred sauce for this recipe. Eat those new tomatoes fresh, or make them into sauce you can use to repeat this recipe on some cold night to come.

Eggplant parmigiana

One quarter cup extra virgin olive oil

2 large eggplants (about 1 pound each)

3 cups tomato sauce of your choosing

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into quarter inch slices ? freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450F. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Slice each eggplant into six slices. Lightly season with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until deep brown on top and soft to the touch. Remove from oven and lower the temperature to 350F. Arrange the four largest eggplant disks in a 9-by-12-inch baking pan, spacing them evenly. Spread one quarter cup of the tomato sauce over each disk. Place one slices of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the grated cheese. Top with four more slices of eggplant and repeat the layering with the tomato sauce and cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and tops are lightly browned. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She's been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. She was furloughed from Smith for the summer and is using the time to work on her first cookbook. Send questions or comments to molly.parr@gmail.com




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