And then, there was Eggplant Parmesan.
It’s actually pretty easy to make, especially when you have all the ingredients all ready and set to go:
- Tomato sauce
- Fried eggplant
- Fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
Here are the basic steps:
If you’re like me and made fresh bread crumbs for the eggplant, the first step is, Clean out the oven.
I mentioned earlier that I had already made Eggplant Parmesan about three times this year. I’ll mention now that two of those times, I started preheating the oven for the eggplant before I remembered to clean up the bread pieces. The smell of something burning, in these cases, provided a good reminder of this step.
The next step is getring the baking dishes ready. This means adding a small layer of tomato sauce to each dish. If you’re making individual Eggplant Parmesan pieces, this is particularly important so the areas around the pieces don’t burn.
Now add all the ingredients, one after another, to form the Eggplant Parmesan pieces – the eggplant, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and then the mozzarella cheese. The process for the layered version is basically the same – just repeat the same ingredient-steps to create however many layers you want. In terms of the cheese to be added, I shredded the Parmesan fine and the mozzarella regular-size.
Pictured below are the steps for the individual pieces:
To the right in the pictures above is a second dish where I did the layered version. Three layers were a good fit for this standard 9″ x 13″ x 2″ glass baking dish and for the amount of eggplant I had prepared.
When making the layers, I packed the eggplant pieces a little more tightly so there weren’t many gaps. Then following in turn, I added enough tomato sauce to make the sauce uniform on top of that.
Then the cheeses are added, spread evenly on top of the sauce, and the layer’s done. Each of the three layers was the same: eggplant, tomato sauce, and then the Parmesan and mozzarella.
With the Eggplant Parmesan pieces and/or layers now ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake until the sauce starts to bubble and the cheese all melts together (and begins to crisp just slightly). This took me 25 minutes baking at 350 (and then 5 minutes more at 400 to get the desired crisp). Maybe better would have been 20 minutes at 375 – something to try next time.
Overall, I’d call it a satisfying culinary and creative week. My original plan was to do everything in a row – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – but with writing and other things, the cooking got more spread out:
- Monday – Bread crumbs
- Tuesday – Fried eggplant
- Thursday – Tomato sauce
- Sunday – Eggplant Parmesan
Of course, you can also do everything on one day. It’s really only the two middle steps, the eggplant and the sauce, that take some time. There are also ways to make the sauce more quickly, like simmering it for less time (or using canned tomatoes instead of fresh).
If you try making it, let me know how it turns out. I bet it’ll be good. For me, eating some warm, freshly-made Eggplant Parmesan is a melts-in-your-mouth experience that often makes me think, and sometimes say out loud, Wow, this is good.