Eggplant Parmesan

 

Delicious Eggplant Parmesan

Delicious Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

This has always been one of my favorites since I first had it at a little local Italian restaurant, Marguerite’s, right here in our home town.  The restaurant never reopened after hurricane Katrina and we all miss it so much!  You can use what ever pasta you have on hand.  I am using angel hair here but I have also used penne, linguine, and spaghetti.  They are all good!

 Basic Marinara:

4 Tbs olive oil

2 onions chopped

2 bellpeppers chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 whole pod of garlic, peeled and fine chopped

1/2 cup white wine

4 – 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes, drained (liquid reserved) and hand crushed

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 chicken bullion cubes

1 tsp salt (or more for adjusting taste)

1 tsp pepper (or more for adjusting taste)

1 TBS Garlic powder

1 TBS Onion Powder

1 TBS Dried thyme

1 TBS Dried oregano

1 TBS Dried Basil

4 bay leaves

1 Bouquet Garni (fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme)

In a medium sauce pot, heat the olive oil over high heat.  When hot, add the chopped onions, bell pepper, and celery.  Let this sauté until lightly golden.  You may have to reduce your heat just a bit.  This should take about 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and let it saute for about another minute, stirring continually so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the white wine.  Stir well.  Reduce heat to low and add the tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley.  You may need to add a cup or so of the reserved liquid.   Mix well and add bullion cubes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaves and bouquet garni.  Bring the heat back up to a slow boil then reduce it again to medium low.  Cover it and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Check it a couple of times during the cooking process to make sure you don’t need to add anymore liquid.  After 30 minutes, uncover and let it cook on low for another 15-20 minutes to thicken.  If you feel that it is too liquidy, you can add a little tomato paste.  Reduce heat to low until ready to use.

 Alfredo Sauce:

1 stick of unsalted butter (not margarine)

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (no canned stuff)

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

fresh chopped parsley (optional)

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the heavy cream.  Continue to stir until the sauce starts to thicken and is slightly bubbly.  Stir in 1/2 of the parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce reaches the desired thickness. Season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.   Reduce heat and cover until ready to use. Whisk often so a skin doesn’t form.  The sauce will continue to thicken somewhat which is alright.

 Frying the eggplant and assembling the dishes:

Preheat your oven to bake at 350 degrees

Ingredients list:

1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil for frying

4 large eggplant aprox 1 1/4 lbs each cut into 1/2 inch circles

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tbs salt

1 tbs pepper

I Tbs dried oregano

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 eggs beaten with about 3 tbs water or milk

*1 box angel hair pasta cooked and drained according to package direction.  Drizzle with a little          olive and set aside until ready to use.

*2 cups fresh grated mozzarella cheese

*1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese

*1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

*these ingredients are used in assembling the dishes

When frying the eggplant, I like to create  an assembly line.  I lay all of my sliced eggplant out on a baking sheet.  I line another baking sheet with foil (makes an easier clean up).  On this baking sheet, I mix all of my breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, & cayenne.  Mix well.  In a medium sized bowl (big enough to fit the eggplant in one slice at a time, I beat my eggs with the water or milk.  I set it in the corner of the sheet that has the flour mixture.  I have all of this lined up on the left side of my skillet.  On the right side of the skillet, I place another baking sheet and line it with paper towels or brown paper bags to drain the cooked eggplant on.  Next, I am ready to heat my oil.  Pour the oil into the large skillet over high heat.  While the oil is heating, get the eggplant ready.  Dip it into the egg mixture making sure it sticks to both sides.  Then coat each side of the eggplant with the bread crumb mixture.  Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a tad of the flour mixture into the oil.  If it sizzles then it is ready.  You will have to work in batches.  Add as many eggplant slices to the pan that will fit without crowding the pan.  My pan holds about 5-6 slices.  Reduce the heat to medium for the duration of the frying time (this is what works for my cooking surface.  Different surfaces may require adjusting but you don’t want the oil to burn.). Cook the eggplant for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden.  As the eggplant cooks, place the rounds on the lined baking sheet to soak up excess oil.

Now to assemble the dish.  You can use a rectangular casserole dish or individual au gratin dishes.  I prefer to use the individuals but either is perfectly fine.  On the bottom of the dish  you are using, spread a THIN layer of the marinara.  Top this with a generous layer of the pasta.  Drizzle a generous amount of the Alfredo sauce over the pasta.  Sprinkle in a thin layer of the mozzarella. Next, layer in the eggplant.  For the individuals, I have found that 2 of the large circles works great.  I sort of overlap them slightly.  Next, ladle the remaining marinara.  Top with the remaining mozzarella. Line another baking sheet with foil (hopefully you have been cleaning as you were cooking and have one of the ones you just used cleaned and ready to go). Place the au gratin dishes or casserole dish on the baking sheet uncovered.  Place into preheated oven and cook for 12 – 15 minutes for the au gratin dishes or 15 – 20 minutes for the casserole.  Add the Parmesan cheese to the tops and cook until melted (3 – 5 minutes).  Sprinkle the tops with the fresh parsley.  This meal is perfect with a spiring mix salad and some garlic French bread.

 Serve and Enjoy!!!

Seafood & Artichoke Stuffed Eggplant

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Seafood & Artichoke stuffed Eggplant

Seafood & Artichoke stuffed Eggplant

Seafood & Artichoke Stuffed Eggplant

 What can I say… I love eggplant, I love shrimp and crab meat, and I love artichokes!  End of story… Oh!!!… and for the most part… I don’t eat a lot of carbs.  Here is a savory and rich tasting recipe that meets all of the above!  This recipe is absolutely delicious and I really can’t see a lot of fat… other than good fat.

Ingredients List:

3 – medium/large eggplant

olive oil spray

kosher salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 – stalks celery, chopped

1 – whole pod of garlic, minced

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dries basil

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 – 14 ounce cans whole artichoke hearts (5 – 7 per can), quartered

*DO NOT USE MARINATED*

Juice of a lemon

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 lb fresh (not frozen) lump crabmeat, pick through at least twice for shells

1/2  cup chopped fresh parsley (save a couple a TBS for garnish)

1 1/2 cups grated fresh parmesan cheese separated into 1 cup and 1/2 cup

sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes for an easier clean up).  Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and place on the baking sheet.  Score the “flesh” of the eggplant diagonally in both directions.  Spray each, cut side up, generously with olive oil spray and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.  When oven is preheated, place eggplant in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 – 15 minutes.  When cooled, scoop out the flesh into a bowl.  Set aside until ready to use.  Reserve the shells of the eggplant until ready to use, as well.

Reduce your oven to heat at 325 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over high heat.  Add onions and celery.  Saute until onions are golden, 5 – 7 minutes.  Add the 2 TBS garlic, stir it in and let it saute about 45 seconds, stirring consistantly so that garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the white wine and let this go for about a minute, stirring for about another minute.  Add in the reserved eggplant.  Reduce the heat to low while you add in all of the seasonings.  Add in the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, basil, and pepper flakes.  Get this all mixed up really good.  Bring your heat up to medium.  Add in the shrimp and cook on medium until the shrimp are cooked, about 20 minutes.  Fold in the artichoke hearts and lemon juice.  Add in the green onions, crabmeat, and parsley.  Let everything heat thoroughly for about 5 minutes.  Fold in 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, just making sure it is all mixed very well.  Fill each of the reserved eggplant shells with the shrimp mixture (i just left mine on the baking sheet that I originally roasted them in).  I had a fair amount of the filling left over so going to have to come up with a way to use this.  Although, some of my eggplant were smallish so I think if you use the larger eggplant, you will use all of your mixture.   Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  Place in the 325 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Garnish with the extra chopped parsley!!!

 

Serve and Enjoy!!!! 

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

With the abundance of Fresh Eggplant and Tomatoes in our garden right now, this was a great recipe to cook.  It is loaded with aromatic spices that make the kitchen smell SO good!!!

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

Layered Eggplant & Tomato Casserole

 Layered Eggplant and Tomato Casserole 

      I’m not really sure what to call this dish.  I had a recipe saved on my computer about a year ago… but after a hard drive crash and scouring through pages and pages of saved recipes…  I decided to do my best by creating it from memory.  I have to say that we had it last night for dinner and it was absolutely delicious!!!

Ingredients list:

5  Ichiban eggplant, medium sliced on the diagonal

Olive oil spray

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 whole pod of garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock (I used some home made stock that I put in the freezer about a    month ago.)

2 teaspoons mild curry powder (Or you could use hot if you would like more spice)

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoons mild paprika

3  tablespoons of tomato paste

4 medium to large vine ripe tomatoes, sliced medium thickness

3/4 of a cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/4 cup of milk or more.  This is for thinning the sauce that goes on top, so you may     need more depending on the desired consistency.

Cooking Instructions:

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.  Spread the sliced eggplant out evenly among the two baking sheets.  Lightly spray the eggplant with the olive oil spray and lightly salt-and-pepper. Place each baking sheet under the boiler for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until slightly golden.  Do this on each side.  I had to broil mine in batches.  It just depends on the size of your oven.  Set the eggplant aside until ready to use.  After broiling the eggplant preheat your oven to 425°.

In a medium-size skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute.  Continue to stir so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Carefully pour in the white wine and mix well with the garlic.  Add in the curry powder, turmeric, and paprika.  Blend well.  Add the chicken stock and tomato paste.  When everything has blended turn the heat to low and cook until the sauce has thickened.  Your kitchen should be smelling really good right about now!!!!  I love the smell of curry powder!!!  Remove the sauce from the heat.

Spoon in about 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 baking dish.  Evenly layer in 1/2 of the broiled eggplant.  Sprinkle the eggplant with 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.  Now, layer in 1/2 of the sliced tomatoes.  Starting again with the sauce, repeat with another  layer of the eggplant, cilantro, and tomatoes and ending with the remaining sauce on top.  Save some of the cilantro so you can have some to sprinkle on the top for garnish.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil.  Place the baking dish on a baking sheet just in case any of the liquid bubbles out while cooking (you will thank yourself when it is time to clean your oven).  Place it in the oven and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling around the edges.  While the eggplant is cooking make the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt and garlic salt in a small mixing bowl and whisking in the milk until it reaches the desired consistancy.  Remove the aluminum foil from the casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Cut into serving sizes and drizzle each serving with the yogurt sauce.  We had this as a side dish to roasted lamb and I can’t tell you how delicious it was!!!  However, this dish is hearty and could easily be served as a meatless entree’.  Hope you enjoy!!!!!