July 2, 2009

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant is a favorite vegetable of mine. It is versatile, durable and when fresh, can last a very long time in the crisper!
I have been inflicting the big purple bulbous veggie on the boys for a few years now and I have learned a few lessons-
1) Never get excited about telling them it is in the pasta sauce
2) Always serve it with something I know they love, like almonds, cheese, couscous etc...
3) If I am trying something new out with them and eggplant, make sure I have a yummy dessert to offer half way through the meal if it looks like it is all going pear shaped!
With these three things in mind I can usually make a meal out of eggplant with little fuss sprouting from their side of the table. To my delight, serving the boys a slab of eggplant as I do when serving parmigiana seems to be one of the easiest ways to get them to eat it. I crumb the slices in fresh breadcrumbs then sear them in a little butter to brown the outside before popping them in the oven. I am guessing it is the slabs of melted mozzarella cheese I melt on top that seals the deal for them (I however love the tomato sauce).
Max is to old to fool with stories or blowing off his questions so I tell him straight up what we are having and he is OK with it. Alex on the other hand is dubious from the beginning, 50 questions about dinner, is there anything else, will I like it? etc.... My saving grace with Alex is the fact that eggplant parmigiana looks really yummy and ready to eat when I serve it, so when he asks me what the black stiff is I ponder what to say until he turns to me and says 'Oh is that olives mum?'
Innocent eyes waiting for my confirmation........I will probably be beaten in hell for lying but I look him straight in the eyes and say 'yes, now eat up!'
With that simple word Alex is completely sold and begins eating away, Max is staring at me with his piercing eyes thinking 'you fibber!!!' I don't dare look at him otherwise we will blow my cover- thank god he is in a good mood and not one of those sulky 7 year old ones, you know where the only pleasure they receive is making your night a complete nightmare.
So as you can see my back up chocolate puddings were not needed to get the kids through their dinner, however it was a close shave with Max- if the wind blew in the other direction I wouldn't of been so lucky!

Eggplant Parmigiana

1 large eggplant cut into 2cm slices


400g tin whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped

3 shallots, diced (or small brown onion)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

6-8 whole basil leaves

25g butter (optional)

1/3 cup plain flour

1 egg

¼ cup milk, lightly beaten

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

3-4 tablespoons olive oil (for pan frying)

200g mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated (I used Mumma Lucia brand)


Slice eggplant into 2cm thick slices (approx 5 slices).

Lay on paper towel and sprinkle one side generously with cooking salt- leave for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan.

Add shallots and garlic then sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring.

Add tomatoes salt and pepper to taste and throw in the basil leaves and butter.

Pop a lid on top and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off heat and place to one side until needed.

Back to the eggplant- after 30 minutes grab so more paper towel and wipe off all the salt from sliced eggplant, you may have to give them 3-4 wipes with fresh paper towel, removing excess moisture.

When all salt is removed, crumb slices.

Add flour to a medium bowl followed with the egg and milk in another bowl and lastly the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.

Dip slices in flour, brush off any excess flour and add to the egg mixture.

Lastly drop in the breadcrumbs and cover slices. Once covered leave on plate and continue with remaining slices until all crumbed.

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Place a large frying pan on Medium high heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Lightly fry the breaded slices of eggplant until they turn golden brown.

Place slices on an oven tray and pop in the oven for 15 minutes, until eggplant is soft.

Remove from oven, divided your tomato sauce between slices and top with mozzarella cheese.

Place back in the oven until cheese melts (approx 8 minutes).

Serve straight away with a wedge of lemon.

1 comment:

TKW said...

Olives--that's brilliant! I love eggplant parmesan...for me, it's the sauce AND the cheese that seals the deal.