August 6, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Parm

Eggplant is one of those vegetables you either love or hate, but this little recipe might change the haters into likers! Grilling the eggplant for this recipe instead of frying is not only healthy, but gives this traditional dish a bit of a delicious transformation.

If you're feeling ambitious and have a garden full of ripe tomatoes, try the tomato sauce/homemade recipe in the sidebar. Your own recipe (or jar variety) will also work for the sauce, but I have to give 2 thumbs up to Muir Glen for their organic crushed tomatoes. They also make fire roasted diced tomatoes which are also very tasty. And of course, the best part is that they're organic!

Grilled Eggplant Parm
makes a 13x9 pan

2 large eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt/pepper
4-5 cups tomato sauce
6 fresh basil leaves, torn
fresh mozzarella balls, (tiny)

1 egg
1 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
2 teaspoons parsley

4 slices dried Italian bread
olive oil
grated romano cheese
fresh cracked pepper

First, make the breadcrumb topping. Tear up 4 slices of day old Italian bread, place on a cookie sheet, lightly drizzle with oil, top with grated romano and cracked pepper, then bake at 375 for about 25 minutes. Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.
You want the bread cubes to be really dry because you're going to crush them up later on.
Wash the eggplant and pat dry. Thinly slice, not too thick, not too thin...about 1/8 of an inch.
Lay slices on a cookie sheet lined with foil, brush or drizzle with olive oil, then salt and pepper both sides.  Preheat grill and lightly grease grates. (You can use a grill basket for this if you have wide grates, otherwise place the eggplant right on the grill.)  Keep basting the eggplant with oil while grilling, about 6-8 minutes each side. Place grilled pieces right back on the cookie sheet when you're done.  (You can also bake the eggplant in a 400 degree oven. Lightly baste with olive oil and cook until fork tender, turning once).

In a large bowl, combine the egg, cheeses and parsley, then salt/pepper to taste. This filling tastes soooo good...
Using a 13x9 pan, spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom. Place a layer of grilled eggplant over the sauce, then dollop teaspoons of filling over the top. Sprinkle on those cute little mozzarella balls, along with pieces of torn basil. Spoon another layer of sauce (not too much though, about 1 cup for each layer). Continue layering, topping with sauce. (Be generous with the basil, it really flavors this dish.)  Getting hungry yet?
Now place the bread cubes inside a gallon sized ziploc bag. Using the bottom of a glass, or a rolling pin, press and crush the bread cubes into crumbs. Lightly sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant. Cover loosely with foil, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, remove foil and continue baking until bubbly.
Food For Thought: One average sized, whole eggplant contains 1,260 mg of potassium
 and about 18 grams of fiber, as well as niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium and "phytosterols",
which are plant-based chemicals that help to lower indulge!


blackbookkitchendiaries said...

this looks really yummy. cant wait to try this one out! thanks for sharing. i love your site!

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

Now I am craving this:)