Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Taste: Eggplant Parmagiana

From December 2010 (?) Martha Stewart Living

Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. Serves 8

For Breading and Frying:
2 cups fine plain fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed

For Assembling:
Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
3 cups coarsley grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

1. Bread and fry the eggplant: Combine breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Put flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in 3 separate dishes. Dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (Oil is ready when a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in.) Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. (If oil gets too dirty, discard, and heat additional 1/4 cup.)
3. Assemble the dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano. Repeat twice to form layers with eggplant, sauce, then cheeses. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.

Marinara Sauce:
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cans (28-oz each) peeled whole tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Simmer, covered, until thick, 25 minutes. Stir in herbs.

Thoughts: Quite a bit of prep involved, but all really doable to prep a day or two in advance. I'm never quite together enough to make the marinara and rely on my favorite Cento-brand jarred stuff. This dish could not be more comforting after a blizzardy day in New England.

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